Yesterday saw the start of construction on Crossrail, as work got underway to lay the foundations for a new station at Canary Wharf.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Mayor of London Boris Johnson were joined by business leaders for a breakfast briefing to mark the occasion.
The Prime Minister said the scheme “will not only mean faster journey times across the capital and beyond, it will also bring a massive economic boost to the city, creating thousands of jobs and adding at least £20 billion to our economy.”
Services are expected to start in 2017 with journey times from Canary Wharf to Heathrow claimed to be just 44 minutes.
In December the City of London confirmed it will contribute £200m to project as well as seeking £150m of contributions from businesses.
Speaking at the time, Sir Michael Snyder of the City of London Corporation described Crossrail as “absolutely crucial in keeping London and the UK globally competitive”.
As yesterday’s launch Boris Johnson said: “The years of hesitation, irresolution and vacillation are over, the shovels have tasted earth and the construction of a railway that is crucial to the economic prosperity of this great city has begun.”
Backers of the scheme say it will create new jobs, including for those in some of the capital’s poorest areas.
In April Boris Johnson announced £8m of funding towards a Crossrail Tunnelling Academy in Newham. The Academy will train 1,000 people with the skills necessary for work in a variety of tunnelling roles.