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CLRL close to agreeing route for Crossrail line

VARIOUS ROUTES are being considered for London's Crossrail underground line.

Following a disagreement over the original route, Cross London Rail Link (CLRL) - the company set up by the Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London to develop the project - is close to meeting a compromise.

A row emerged after it was revealed that latest studies into the Crossrail project from Paddington in west London to Stratford in east London would explore a route taking it through Canary Wharf in London's Docklands and further east.

The original scheme, which was to run underground between Paddington and Liverpool Street stations, was strongly supported by the Corporation of London. It argues that this is the only way of delivering an affordable Crossrail scheme by 2011, the deadline set out in the government's 10-year transport plan. The corporation says capacity could be left for a future spur to Canary Wharf east of Liverpool Street.

But Canary Wharf 's owner Canary Wharf Group (CWG) wants the project to include Canary Wharf and go beyond into the Thames Gateway area. The two groups are said to be close to agreement on a compromise route.

It is believed that the route being studied involves constructing the existing route to Stratford, with a branch to Canary Wharf and an interchange with the Underground at Whitechapel.

This option involves an extension of the tunnel east of Liverpool Street so that trains to Stratford surface beyond Whitechapel.

CLRL developed a new alignment using an inhouse team and outside consultants including Maunsell, Gibb, Mott MacDonald, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Objections from Tower Hamlets Borough Council had forced engineers to look at extending the Crossrail tunnel east of Liverpool Street to an interchange at Whitechapel. The council had feared that it would not benefit from the scheme unless there was a station in the borough. Once it was established that the tunnel would have to proceed further east, the option of extending it all the way to Canary Wharf gained momentum.

CLRL is considering four routes for the project.

The first is the original 'Classic Crossrail' from Paddington to Liverpool Street and Stratford.

Option two could include a branch out to Canary Wharf.

Another is expected to extend the Canary Wharf tunnel under the Thames to Charlton and connect with the North Kent line. This would then connect Crossrail with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link station at Ebbsfleet, north Kent.

The final option is expected to extend the Canary Wharf line further east through Docklands to Barking and Dagenham. Some say the option is unrealistic because of limited property development potential along the 8km stretch east of Canary Wharf.

West of Paddington, CLRL is considering options to increase line capacity feeding into London.

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