When I wrote about Crossrail earlier this week I did not know that the £14.5 billion project was officially at the half-way stage. I had quoted the November statistic that Crossrail’s seven giant tunnelling machines were approaching 25 kilometres out of 42 kilometres of new train tunnels that will link East and West London. Another 14 kilometres of new passenger, platform and service tunnels are being constructed below the new Crossrail stations.
Today the British Prime Minister David Cameron accompanied by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited the site of Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Mr Cameron said:-
“Big infrastructure projects like Crossrail are vital for the economy of London and the rest of Britain. They are the foundation-stone on which business can grow, compete and create jobs – a massive 55,000 jobs in the construction phase of this project alone“.
The rolling stock and depot contract is expected to be awarded in Spring 2014. Delivery and testing of trains is scheduled to start in 2017 ready for the opening of the new Crossrail tunnels to passengers in late 2018. It will transform train travel across London and South-East England, delivering faster journey times, boosting London’s rail capacity by 10% and bringing an additional 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes travel of the capital’s major business centres. Over 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year.
The Prime Minister and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Stephen Hammond went 25 metres below ground to view progress at Crossrail’s Tottenham Court Road site. They were joined by apprentices and commuters who will benefit from the new east / west railway, along with Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan CBE, Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme OBE and Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy CBE.
Mr Cameron said Crossrail is one of the government’s priority projects as set out in the National Infrastructure Plan.
Crossrail: key facts
Crossrail will add 10% capacity to London’s rail network and its services are due to start in 2018. It will serve 38 stations, connecting Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east via central London. The economic benefits from Crossrail are spread across the country. It is estimated that Crossrail will generate at least 75,000 business opportunities and support the equivalent of 55,000 full time jobs around the UK. 3 out of 5 businesses currently winning work on the project are based outside London and over half (58%) are small and medium sized enterprises. In addition to Crossrail, 61,000 jobs are created around the country annually through TfL’s investment programme. When Crossrail opens it will increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the city.
Read more on developing Crossrail.
The British government is intent on delivering a national infrastructure plan to make the UK globally competitive. Up and down the country big projects are boosting the prospects for the future and providing high quality jobs.
At the Spending round the British government announced it would spend £300 billion on capital projects over the next 6 years, including £100 billion of specific projects. These include:
- providing funding for the biggest programme of investment in roads since the 1970s
- setting out £3.3 billion of new funding for affordable housing from 2015 to 2016
- providing funding for 500,000 new school places
- investing up to £250 million to extend superfast broadband so that 95% of UK premises will have access to superfast broadband by 2017
- specific long-term funding settlement for flood defences out to 2020
- new package on shale, including community benefits package, changes to planning and Environment Agency permit processes
- committing to HS2