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Businesses weigh Crossrail options

NEWS

LONDON'S BUSINESS leaders are meeting today to choose which version of the proposed Crossrail underground rail link between east and west London to back.

Business groups London First, the CBI and the London Chamber of Commerce will discuss two rival proposals for the project. They hope to form a 'business consensus' on a preferred scheme.

The preferred Crossrail proposal involves construction of an underground rail link between Paddington and Liverpool Street stations connecting with commuter lines in east and west London.

Backers claim it is imperative this proposal is chosen to ensure the project stays on track for completion by 2011.

The other proposal is to change the eastern alignment, extending the tunnel from Liverpool Street to Canary Wharf in Docklands. Its backers hope this will aid urban regeneration of the Thames Gateway area, a key priority of the Greater London Authority.

The Corporation of London is expected to back the original proposal, while developer Canary Wharf plc supports the new plan. The original proposal is already extensively designed while the new one has only recently become a serious proposition.

Cross London Rail Links - the company set up by the Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London to develop the Crossrail scheme - is expected to report on the feasibility of both options and how much delay to expect if the Canary Wharf proposal is pursued.

Airport operator BAA will also make a submission on extending Crossrail services to Heathrow and Stansted airports.

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