Rail (UK)

Cross­rail de­mands £80m to avoid project be­ing moth­balled

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£80 mil­lion is needed im­me­di­ately to en­able the heav­ily de­layed Cross­rail project to con­tinue.

In Au­gust, Cross­rail ex­plained how it would need an ex­tra £1.1 bil­lion to com­plete the scheme. Dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing this larger sum con­tinue between Trans­port for Lon­don, Greater Lon­don Author­ity and Govern­ment.

As this is­sue of RAIL went to press, Trans­port for Lon­don had not ex­plained why the £80m was needed so ur­gently, where any re­sult­ing work is ex­pected to be car­ried out, and why a fail­ure to se­cure such a fig­ure would stop the project.

Any fig­ure for Cross­rail is sep­a­rate to the fi­nan­cial sup­port TfL has re­ceived from Govern­ment to en­able it to con­tinue op­er­at­ing ser­vices ( RAIL 918).

A May­oral source said: “TfL has stepped for­ward and taken on full re­spon­si­bil­ity for de­liv­ery of the Cross­rail project and, at the Govern­ment’s in­sis­tence that ‘Lon­don pays’, the cur­rent fund­ing pro­posal will mean the vast ma­jor­ity of these costs are cov­ered by GLA bor­row­ing.

“This of­fer was made to min­is­ters months ago and would mean Lon­don would cover more than its fair share of a project whose fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits will over­whelm­ingly go to the Trea­sury. It is in­con­ceiv­able that a deal can­not be done on terms so gen­er­ous for the Govern­ment.”

Shadow Rail Min­is­ter Tan Dh­esi, whose Slough con­stituency is served by the west­ern leg of Cross­rail, said: “Govern­ment are happy to spend mil­lions in prof­its to pri­vate rail op­er­a­tors, but fail to sup­port TfL to com­plete this much­needed project. They need to stop play­ing pol­i­tics and help to de­liver Cross­rail.”

Cross­rail should have opened un­der cen­tral Lon­don in De­cem­ber 2018, with the full net­work in place by De­cem­ber 2019. The lat­est pro­jec­tion is of a hoped-for start to­wards the end of next year.

Mean­while, Cross­rail 2 has been ‘moth­balled’ due to the cur­rent eco­nomic cri­sis.

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