The £300 million funding gap that ultimitely stood between the ultimate success or failure of London's Crossrail project, an east-west rail-link, was plugged today when London businesses agreed to pledge the money needed. Further details of this agreement is to be published in the government's Comprehensive Spending Review next week. The gap in funding represented only 2% of the total scheme, expected to cost around £15 billion.
The scheme, running from Heathrow Airport and Maidenhead in the west, through central London though underground via important stations such as Bank, Canary Wharf and Ealing Broadway, and out to the east, terminating at Abbey Wood and Shenfield, would see up to 24 trains per hour at peak periods and would become the largest rail infrastructure project in Europe.
Commenting on the government's green light, Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling said, "Crossrail is key to the long term development of London and the UK and I welcome the fact that everyone has worked together to achieve this. We are able to afford this investment on the foundation of a strong economy."
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said, "Crossrail is not just a transport scheme – it is the key to the next 20 years of economic development of London. Crossrail will provide the transport underpinning for the greatest centres of London’s business – the City, Canary Wharf and the West End – as well as linking these areas of high jobs growth to the areas of greatest deprivation in east London and opening up the areas of new housing development in the Thames Gateway.
"Crossrail, like all good ideas, is simple. It gives the financial centres of London, the City and Canary Wharf, a single transport platform, links this to Heathrow, provides massive new transport capacity in the West End, and opens up the connection to the areas of housing development in the Thames Gateway. It passes through most of the areas of highest job growth in London. The station at Whitechapel provides a junction to the East London Line – which passes through the areas of London’s greatest deprivation. With a capacity twice that of the Jubilee line, and expanding London’s rail capacity by 10%, it is the largest addition to London’s transport system for more than 50 years. It will touch the lives of millions of Londoners whether they are travelling to work, going to the West End to shop or for the evening out, travelling to Heathrow or living in East London – and by providing the transport backbone of the internationally competitive businesses of London it will aid the whole UK economy.
"It is a tremendous, £16bn, internationally recognisable vote of confidence by businesses and government in London’s economic success. In the seven years since I have been Mayor delivering Crossrail has been by far the most important transport project I have sought to deliver, working together with London’s businesses and the government, and I regard today’s statement as a tremendous combined achievement of all those who have worked for it and one of the most important announcements London could have."
There are numerous pdf files avaiable to view, all showing different takes on how Crossrail will provide an integrated transport system within London - see all of them by clicking here to go to the main Crossrail website or click below for the two which I think best depict the route services will take.
Basic route map showing all Crossrail stops (pdf 192kb)
Map showing actual routes taken in a regional format (pdf 341kb)