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Rail in London

Construction of the three main rail projects in London depends on decisions from the Government, Railtrack, the shadow Strategic Rail Authority and the Rail Regulator.

Later this year decisions from all three will dictate whether Railtrack can raise the finance to pay for these schemes - CrossRail and the East London Line extension.

CrossRail came out of mothballs last year after the collapse of Railtrack's plans to integrate commuter trains and Tube trains on London Underground's sub-surface lines. 'The issue now is who will operate the system, ' said Arup director Mark Bostock.

Now the Government expects CrossRail to be a private finance project, it is possible a private consortium could build, finance and operate the scheme.

Failure of talks between Railtrack and LUL led the Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions to ask the shadow Strategic Rail Authority to produce a report on east west rail links across London. This is expected to go to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in October. One issue to be addressed will be track capacity on the existing rail network at each end of CrossRail.

Business lobbying group London First's transport director Irving Yass was also optimistic about prospects for the East London Line extension. He said that bidders for the new Connex south central rail franchise were already being asked to build the upgrade into their tender assumptions.

As with CrossRail, Railtrack's plans for the East London Line depend on the outcome of the various reviews of track access charges and rail services being carried out by the Rail Regulator and the sSRA.

The project involves tying the line into the North London Line so trains can run from south east London to Wembley. Issues that need resolving include service patterns - some stations are only big enough for four car trains, so these will have to be interspersed with longer ones.

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