Plans for the Crossrail project took a major step forward this week when the when the enabling legislation completed its Parliamentary process and received Royal Assent on Tuesday night.
The £16bn scheme will see a new rail line built through the centre of London and construction is expected to begin in 2010 with train services due to start running in 2017.
Last October Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the project was of “enormous importance, not just for London but for the whole country”.
Speaking on Wednesday Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said the scheme “will generate jobs and economic growth, help re-vitalise some of our most deprived areas and deliver major improvements for the travelling public.”
“Crossrail has been talked about for decades, so I am delighted that now we have secured both the funding package and parliamentary approval work can finally begin to deliver this fantastic project.”
The end of the Parliamentary process was also welcomed by Mayor of London Boris Johnson who said “Londoners living in the east will have far greater access to jobs in the centre of London and we expect to see the areas where they are living flourish from private sector investment in housing and development. All this and Crossrail even pays for itself. That is what I call a cracking deal for the capital.”
Once operational the Crossrail scheme is expected to use Transport for London’s existing zonal fare system, passengers will also be able to use the capital’s Oyster card payment system.