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Prescott defers decision on Thameslink 2000

DEPUTY PRIME Minister John Prescott has delayed his decision on whether to proceed with a public inquiry into the Thameslink 2000 rail project for a second time.

The £580M scheme would link Kings Lynn, Peterborough and Bedford to Brighton and the East Coast, and interconnect with phase two of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. This interchange will be provided by a box at St Pancras station which the Government is contractually bound to fund under the CTRL development agreement.

Prescott had been due to make a decision at the end of January, after postponing it once because of London & Continental Railways' financial crisis early last year. But the Government claims Railtrack needs more time to prepare revised proposals for the project in the light of objections to the scheme by those living close to the route.

A Railtrack spokeswoman confirmed the delay would allow it to review its designs for Farringdon and Blackfriars stations, and increase capacity in the London Bridge area.

Railtrack will re-submit its application in the autumn, and Prescott is expected to make his decision on 9 December.

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