TRANSPORT SECRETARY Alistair Darling signalled a step forward for London's Crossrail project with the publication of an enabling bill on 22 February.
Although this does not herald a firm commitment to the scheme, the hybrid bill aims to secure the powers needed to build the east-west link.
It includes authorisation for construction of the link and acquisition of land along the route and devolution of project control to the Greater London Authority or Transport for London (or both).
The bill covers the core of the estimated £9bn project - called Crossrail line 1 - tunnelled between Liverpool Street Station in the east to Paddington in the west, with new stations at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon.
It also covers planned westward extensions to Heathrow Airport and Maidenhead and two eastern links, one to Shenfi eld and the other to a new station at Ebbsfl eet on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.