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Review expected to give Crossrail go-ahead

A GOVERNMENT review of London's east-west Crossrail scheme was this week expected to recommend that the project be given the go-ahead, supporters of the scheme said this week.

It was unclear whether the review would favour the official Cross London Rail Links (CLRL) scheme promoted by the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and the mayor's Transport for London department, or the unofficial Arup/Aecom plan.

Both schemes involve a central tunnelled section between Paddington and Liverpool Street stations. But the CLRL proposal involves a dedicated train fleet while the Arup/Aecom scheme does not.

The Arup Aecom scheme is also smaller than the CLRL project, and focusses on the central tunnelled section. The CLRL scheme includes links to Canary Wharf and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link station at Ebbsfleet, plus links to west London.

The review is being carried out by Network Rail deputy chairman Adrian Montague, who used to head up the government's private finance initiative task force. It is expected to go before ministers tomorrow.

CLRL chief executive Norman Haste said he was optimistic about the project going ahead. 'I feel the responses we have given (to the review) are very robust in terms of the business case, ' he said.

'But I can't account for how the government will view it from an affordability and fundability perspective, ' he added.

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