Department for Transport
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Crossrail given go ahead by Parliament

Crossrail given go ahead by Parliament

DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (122) issued by The Government News Network on 23 July 2008

Work on the largest civil engineering project in Europe to get underway

Crossrail, the largest addition to the transport network in London and the South East for more than 50 years has completed its Parliamentary process, with the Crossrail Bill receiving Royal Assent last night.

Following the Prime Minister's announcement last October that a £16bn funding package had been secured for the construction of Crossrail, Parliamentary approval of the Bill means that the project is on track to be operational for passengers in 2017. It will mean more capacity and faster journeys for passengers, as well as a £20bn boost to the wider UK economy.

The line will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west through tunnels under central London - with new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Isle of Dogs (Canary Wharf) - then out to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

The Crossrail Act grants powers to acquire land and for Crossrail to be built and maintained. Enabling works will take place next year, with main construction works set to begin in 2010.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said:

"This landmark project is of major significance to both London and the whole country. It will generate jobs and economic growth, help re-vitalise some of our most deprived areas and deliver major improvements for the travelling public.

"Crossrail has been talked about for decades, so I am delighted that now we have secured both the funding package and parliamentary approval work can finally begin to deliver this fantastic project."

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:

"I am absolutely thrilled that work can now begin on one of the largest projects ever seen in the capital, a project that is vital to the future prosperity of our city and a project that has the potential to improve the lives of many thousands of Londoners.

"Crossrail will shorten journey times for Londoners and visitors to our city whether they are heading for the bright lights of the west end or the citadels of commerce at Canary Wharf. But most importantly it can act as a catalyst for regeneration across the whole of our city, particularly in the east of the capital.

"Londoners living in the east will have far greater access to jobs in the centre of London and we expect to see the areas where they are living flourish from private sector investment in housing and development. All this and Crossrail even pays for itself. That is what I call a cracking deal for the capital."

Douglas Oakervee, Executive Chairman of Cross London Rail Links said

"Royal Assent is the most significant milestone in the history of Crossrail. After years of planning and discussion, we are ready to move into the delivery phase of a project that will benefit London, the south east region and the UK as a whole.

"Up to 14,000 people will be employed in the construction, and training schemes are planned to help equip Londoners along the route with the skills to secure these jobs. This will be a project for the whole community - a new world class affordable railway that London expects and deserves."

London's Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy said:

"The importance of Crossrail to London's economy and transport network cannot be overstated. Along with the vital upgrade of the Tube, it will provide much needed additional transport capacity to keep London moving.

"When complete, it will carry twice as many passengers as the Jubilee line, increasing London's public transport network capacity by 10%. Our priority now is to ensure delivery of this project, on time and on budget."

Iain Coucher, chief executive, Network Rail said:

"We have a thriving and punctual railway and the key challenge now is providing more capacity for passengers. Crossrail, along with projects such as Thameslink will provide a huge boost to public transport across the capital and beyond, linking some of the UK's busiest transport hubs and adding a vast array of new journey opportunities to commuters, business and leisure travellers.

"Network Rail will play a vital role in preparing the existing rail network to accommodate a vast increase in traffic and providing upgrades to passenger facilities that encourage people to use the railway."

Baroness Jo Valentine, London First said:

"Today's final parliamentary approval is great news for the capital's commuters and businesses. It signals Government intent to get moving on delivering on this crucial project. But, more than that, it signals a world city investing in its future competitiveness."

When complete, there will be 24 trains per hour in each direction through Central London during peak times. This will provide substantial new passenger capacity and crowding relief, particularly on the Central and Piccadilly lines.

The service will be delivered by a new and dedicated fleet of approximately 600 air conditioned carriages. They will be greener, lighter, quicker, able to carry a greater number of passengers and more reliable than existing designs. Stations along the route will be accessible.

Royal Assent is the most significant milestone in the history of Crossrail and the time when Cross London Rail Links Limited changes from a planning and promotional organisation to the Delivery Agent for this exciting new railway. As part of this transformation four new independent non-executive directors - Michael Cassidy CBE, Patrick Crawford, Sir Joe Dwyer and Heather Rabbatts, CBE - have been appointed.

The Executive Chairman Douglas Oakervee, who has successfully led the company over the past three years, will continue in that role until the appointment of a CEO and non-Executive Chairperson in accordance with best corporate governance practice. An open and competitive selection process will commence shortly to bring about this change. It is expected that Mr Oakervee's experience and knowledge will continue to be closely associated with Crossrail through the challenging and exciting times ahead.

Notes to Editors

1. The Crossrail project is a result of a partnership between DfT, the London Mayor, Transport for London (TfL), Cross London Rail Links (CLRL), Network Rail and London's business community.

2. Crossrail key facts:

* Over 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year.

* Crossrail will bring an additional 1.5m people within 60 minutes commuting distance of London's key business districts and is forecast to create 30,000 jobs. It will add at least £20bn to the UK economy. Up to 14,000 people will be employed at the peak period of the line's construction.

* Crossrail will boost existing regeneration plans in the Thames Gateway. Such is the size and scale of Crossrail that a Benefits Board led by the Greater London Authority has been established to secure the wider opportunities such as housing and development that Crossrail brings.

* In total, Crossrail will add 10% to London's overall public transport capacity.

* Trains will travel at up to 100 mph on the surface and 60 mph in tunnels. Heathrow will be 31 minutes away from the West End and 43 minutes from Canary Wharf. Crossrail will cut journey times to the West End from many parts of the capital - 19 minutes from Southall, 22 minutes from Woolwich, 20 minutes from Ilford and 31 minutes from Romford. Further details on the route are available on CLRL website http://www.crossrail.co.uk

* Transport opportunities for people with reduced mobility, with luggage or pushchairs will improve, with new step-free Crossrail stations in central London in the central section and accessible trains.

* For the first time in London, twin bore tunnels will be built that are wide enough to carry mainline passenger trains beneath the heart of the city. The internal diameter of the tunnels will be 6 metres, compared with 3.8 metres on the existing Tube system. In all, 21 km of twin-bore tunnels will be constructed

3. The Crossrail Bill was deposited in February 2005. 466 petitions were lodged in the House of Commons and 133 in the House of Lords and, in each House, petitioners had the opportunity to present their cases to a special Select Committee. A variety of commitments, from protection against noise to managing the disruption that will be caused by construction, were given to petitioners.

4. Crossrail's £16bn funding package was announced by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, on 5 October 2007 and confirmed in the subsequent Comprehensive Spending Review. On 26 November 2007 the Government published the Heads of Terms which sets out the agreements that have been reached between DfT and TfL on the future funding and governance of the Crossrail project. DfT will be responsible for £5.6bn of funding with the Mayor through TfL and the Greater London Authority responsible for £7.7bn of funding. This allows for contributions from BAA and the City of London Corporation and Canary Wharf Group and Berkeley Homes will also contribute through the construction on beneficial terms of new stations at the Isle of Dogs and Woolwich respectively.

5. Cross London Rail Links (CLRL) is the company that has developed the Crossrail to date and will be responsible for its construction. The company is currently owned 50/50 by the Secretary of State and TfL but will become wholly-owned by TfL.

6. CLRL will have its own Board separate to that of TfL. The Chairman of CLRL will be appointed by TfL with the consent of DfT. There will be at least 4 non-executive directors appointed by the Chair. DfT and TfL will additionally have the right to appoint one non-executive director each

7. In the next few days an Order will be made by the Secretary of State under the powers in the Crossrail Act to make CLRL the nominated undertaker for the Crossrail works. This will transfer to CLRL powers to build the railway.

8. OJEU notices for expressions of interest in the delivery and design of Crossrail have been issued and considerable interest shown. The appointment of a delivery partner will reinforce the existing project team's professional programme, project and engineering management services. The appointment of design consultants will help the project to maintain its flexibility of approach to a complex and challenging design.

9. Network Rail is responsible for the design, development and delivery of the works outside the tunnel area, on the existing rail network.

10. On Monday 21 July, the Office of Rail Regulation wrote to Network Rail formally directing them under section 18 of the Railways Act 1993 to enter into a track access option with the Secretary of State for Transport. The track access option gives firm access rights for Crossrail to use the national rail network for 30 years from the commencement of services and provides important long term security for the project. More information can be found on the ORR website (http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.214).

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Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk

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