At a recent High Level Steering Group comprising the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, the Commissioner of Transport for London, Bob Kiley, Minister of Transport, John Spellar MP and the Chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority, Sir Alistair Morton, it was agreed that the way forward for the Crossrail scheme would be through a new joint venture company.
The new company - Cross London Rail Links Ltd - is owned jointly by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and Transport for London's (TfL) on a 50/50 basis. It has been asked to report by early next year on the feasibility, costs and financing of options for the Crossrail project. These options should meet the three main objectives of Crossrail: supporting the development of London as a World City and its role as the key financial centre of the UK and Europe; to support London's economic growth and regeneration; and to tackle the lack of capacity and congestion on the existing network.
Cross London Rail Links Ltd (Crossrail) - has been set up to take forward both the east-west Crossrail route and also the associated development of the Hackney-South West scheme. Crossrail has been given a budget of £154m, demonstrating the Government's commitment to delivery of this scheme.
Bob Kiley, TfL Commissioner, also announced the appointment of the Chair of CLRL. He said:
"I am glad to confirm that Sir Christopher Benson has been appointed Chair of CLRL. Sir Christopher has the vision and credentials to deliver this major railway project for London and the Southeast. The CLRL company will now move rapidly to ensure that after all these years, Crossrail will be built."
SRA Chief Executive Mike Grant said:
"I am pleased to welcome Sir Christopher Benson to this post and look forward to working with him to take these important projects forward".
The evaluation will include routes to Canary Wharf and Stratford, including a possible new interchange with the East London Line at Whitechapel then via Liverpool Street, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street to Paddington and on to Heathrow.
The evaluation will include services onto the national rail network west of Paddington and east of Stratford. Studies will also be undertaken into options to project the railway beyond Canary Wharf, including possible extensions to Greenwich and into the Thames Gateway area both north and south of the River Thames.
Ken Livingstone commented:
"The Greater London Authority and government are working together to deliver Crossrail as the backbone of the transport infrastructure for London's business and financial service sector in the first part of the 21st century."
Sir Christopher Benson added:
"Crossrail is an incredibly exciting prospect as it will link London's business and economic centres from both east and west, as well as connecting to Heathrow Airport. I am delighted to be driving forward the biggest rail development in London since the Underground was first built."
Crossrail Press Office 020 3229 9552