The Government today safeguarded a potential Crossrail route from Maidenhead to Reading.
Whilst there is no current commitment to extend Crossrail out to Reading, safeguarding provides additional protection against future developments on the route.
Transport Minister Lord Adonis said:
"Our current priority is to get on with the delivery of the Crossrail Project as it is currently planned, but safeguarding would provide additional protection against developments impacting on future operational requirements.
"Safeguarding will also allow the line to be electrified in the future and for Crossrail to be extended if a case can be made to do so."
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Notes for editors
1. The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued Safeguarding Directions to protect a potential extension of Crossrail from Maidenhead Station to Reading West Junction. This follows a consultation on the draft Directions which closed on 25 July 2008.
2. The aim is to ensure that developments along this rail corridor do not impact on the ability to extend Crossrail in the future. Crossrail Ltd (CRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, has responsibility for delivering the Crossrail scheme and is responsible for safeguarding this corridor.
3. The Safeguarding Direction has been issued to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) by the Secretary of State. The LPAs are required to consult CRL when determining planning applications for land within the limits shown on the safeguarding plans attached to the direction.
4. The Crossrail project currently terminates at Maidenhead. No decision or commitment to extend it further west to Reading has been made. However, DfT believes it sensible to safeguard this corridor for a potential extension of Crossrail to Reading. Safeguarding will also allow us to carry out alternative works, such as electrification, that could enable future operational requirements to be met.
5. Crossrail will run 118 km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will bring an additional 1.5 million people within 60 minutes commuting distance of London's key business districts. When Crossrail opens in 2017 it will increase London's public transport network capacity by 10 per cent, supporting regeneration across the capital, helping to secure London's position as a world leading financial centre, and cutting journey times across the city. Preparatory works will continue throughout 2009 and main Crossrail construction starts in 2010.