The government has given £30M to the Thameslink project for project planning and design development, with final decisions on funding the scheme to conclude in summer 2007.
The new cash will be a stepping stone towards funding the whole project - projected to cost around £3.5 bn. 'This £30m investment will enable Network Rail to improve the robustness of our plans, making sure that we are in the best possible position to deliver the scheme,' said Network Rail's programme director for Thameslink, Andrew Mitchell.'Before the final decision on funding is made, more work needs to be done on the project to improve the robustness of the plans and cost estimates, and to maintain the opportunity of delivering the project to the planned timetable,' said transport minister Tom Harris.Harris said that Thameslink will be considered as part of next year's Comprehensive Spending Review, and the Department's five year plan for rail, the High Level Output Specification. This new cash will iron out some of Thameslink's loose ends and feed into the government's final decision-making process.'This will enable a more informed decision to be made regarding the case for funding the implementation of the project in summer 2007. It also safeguards the opportunity to deliver the first set of outputs of the Thameslink modernisation scheme by December 2011,' said Harris.