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Confidential report could be kiss of life for Crossrail

LONDON'S SHELVED Crossrail project may get a new lease of life if recommendations for a £10bn rail development for the capital get the go-ahead.

A confidential report to deputy prime minister John Prescott from the shadow Strategic Rail Authority (sSRA) recommends building a revised version of Crossrail, plus an underground link between Wimbledon and Hackney and a direct Heathrow-St Pancras link.

The 'London east-west study' also suggests a new strategy for freight traffic through the capital and there are proposals to develop the capacity of the Great Western lines from Paddington.

The report was produced by a group representing the sSRA, London Underground, Railtrack and Transport for London.

It says the capital's surface and underground networks are near capacity and that overcrowding can only be dealt with by new cross-city links.

It is estimated that Crossrail, running between Paddington and Liverpool Street, would cost £2.8bn and would be built between 2008 and 2013, while the Wimbledon-Hackney route, running in tunnels from Wimbledon via King's Cross, would cost £5.3bn and be built between 2010 and 2016. Each would have intermediate stations and connect to main rail lines at either end of the city.

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