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Compromise may end Crossrail route row

A COMPROMISE version of the eastwest London Crossrail scheme is this week being produced to end a row between London's business leaders over the route.

It is likely to involve extending tunnels into east London and Canary Wharf.

The revised scheme is being developed by Cross London Rail Links (CLRL) - the public sector company set up to develop the project by the Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London.

'We are looking very hard at options to combine the two proposals, but it is likely that the route will have two branches. We cannot have a scheme which does not acknowledge development of the Isle of Dogs area, ' said CLRL acting chief executive Keith Berryman.

He confirmed that initial designs for the new tunnel alignment to Canary Wharf were under way and would take three to four months.

CLRL outlined its compromise at a meeting of London business leaders last week ( News last week).

Under the compromise route, to be presented to ministers in March, the tunnel from Paddington to Liverpool Street will extend an extra 3.2km east to Bow in east London before going overground to Stratford. The other branch would go from Whitechapel to a terminus at Canary Wharf.

CLRL will then explore extending the line from Canary Wharf into east London.

It is hoped the compromise will head off a simmering row between Docklands developer Canary Wharf Group, which owns the Canary Wharf complex in east London's Isle of Dogs, and the Corporation of London which is responsible for the City of London.

The two organisations disagree over the need to extend the tunnels from Liverpool Street to Docklands.

Canary Wharf wants the extension because the Jubilee Line and Docklands Light Railway lack the capacity to serve the development.

But the City of London Corporation argues that changing the scope of the project will add three and a half years to the programme and add £2.5bn to the £3bn cost.

The original Crossrail tunnel was to emerge east of Liverpool Street and link with overground lines to Stratford in east London.

Under Canary Wharf's Supermetro plan, the Crossrail tunnel would run another 3km east of Liverpool Street to new stations at Whitechapel and Canary Wharf.

At Whitechapel the line would split with one branch heading overground to Stratford. The other would continue underground to Canary Wharf and through east London before connecting with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

Instead, the Corporation is lobby - ing for the original Crossrail scheme to be built with an option to extend it to Canary Wharf.

INFOPLUS www. transportforlondon. go v. uk www. sra. gov. uk

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