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Government backs £15.9bn Crossrail project

The government has given its full backing to the £15.9 billion Crossrail project, featuring stations designed by Hawkins\ Brown, Weston Williamson, Wilkinson Eyre, Foster + Partners, John McAslan and BDP

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday confirmed the government’s full backing while on a visit to Fosters’ Canary Wharf Crossrail station scheme at London’s Docklands.

His announcement scotched fears a funding review of the project could scrap McAslan + Partners’ Bond Street Station project or Hawkins\Brown’s Tottenham Court Road Crossrail station scheme.

Hammond said: ‘The Government is committed to this project. We have no plans to reduce its scope.

‘We want this project to be delivered in its entirety.’

He said again however that the Government wanted to ensure it was delivered ‘with maximum value for the taxpayer’.

Potential budget reduction options mooted for the £15.9 billion project included scrapping a costly central London station; reducing or removing spurs linking to Canary Wharf, Abbey Wood in the east, and Maidenhead; and shortening trains from 12 to 10 cars.

Due to be completed in 2017, Crossrail was originally envisaged in the 1990s but was scrapped by the then Tory government on cost grounds.

Revived under Labour, the Crossrail project will see trains travelling from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east via new twin tunnels under central London. It will link Heathrow airport, the West End, the City of London and Canary Wharf.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport union, said today: ‘The Government have sent out the clearest possible signal that transport is going to be right in the front line as the cuts assault on our services is unleashed.’

He added that Crossrail was ‘on the critical list as the ConDems look to dump manifesto commitments to vital transport modernisation projects.’

Hammond said: ‘I came to visit the Crossrail project today to signal my intention to press ahead with the major improvements in our transport system that business and passengers need.

‘The work being carried out at Canary Wharf is an excellent example of how this can be done in an innovative and efficient way, so that we get value for taxpayers’ money.

‘We live in difficult economic times, but that does not mean that we should scrap big projects which would give the economy a vital boost in the future.

‘But it does mean that we must ensure that every pound we invest is well spent. I am determined that this scheme remains affordable - Londoners, business and the taxpayer would expect nothing less.’

Crossrail last year announced the full list of architects designing crossrail stations.

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