Doug Oakervee is exaggerating when he says Crossrail as planned will be a world-class railway (NCE last week).
It may be built to high standards, but it is really an extension to the London Underground, rather than a significant addition to the regional and national rail network.
Trains will be slow, allstation services with a limited range between Maidenhead and Sheneld. Expensive tunnels are wasted as 28 of the 48 trains per hour never get west of Paddington.
Thameslink 2000, however, takes the opposite approach creating a major leap forward in rail services across London and the south east and east of England. It will have fast, semifast and slow trains serving 168 stations with 48 trains per hour, covering 6,762km miles - an average of 141km miles per train.
If Crossrail was developed as a regional scheme in the style of Thameslink 2000, then it would use the same central tunnel but connect to Northampton, Milton Keynes, Reading, Aylesbury, Cambridge, Stansted, Ipswich and Southend. Such a scheme would have 111 stations and the 48 trains would cover 5,523km miles averaging 115km miles per train.
This would be much more in tune with the government's sustainable development proposals for London and the surrounding regions.
Jim Middleton, 5 Crab Tree Close, Olney, Bucks MK46 5DU