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Ministers to decide on future of CrossRail

PUBLIC SECTOR proposals for London's underground CrossRail rail line are to be submitted to ministers in the next week.

Proposals being drawn up by Transport for London (TfL) and the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) are expected to be considered with a competing private sector plan produced by consultants Arup and Aecom (NCE 23 January).

TfL/SRA's final plans are expected to include the core twin bored route between Paddington and Liverpool Street stations, plus extra route choices. These include a link to Abbey Wood in south London via the Canary Wharf property development in Docklands.

But each option will be priced and will have its own business case, worked up by financial advisors from Bank of America.

Pricing each route will give ministers the opportunity to 'pick and mix' their preferred route proposals.

TfL/SRA's Cross London Rail Links (CLRL) joint venture confirmed this week that it was seeking bids to replace Bank of America as its financial advisor after the bank announced that it was withdrawing from project finance work.

Last week CLRL ended consultation on a new route option for west London. This could run above ground or in tunnel between Paddington and Norbiton in south west London.

Ministers will now spend the next few weeks considering the proposals. Transport secretary Alastair Darling is expected to make an announcement about the plans at the end of February or early March.

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