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Train plan set to derail retail scheme

NEWS

RAILTRACK HAS unveiled plans to build a £60M light rapid transit scheme through north London.

The proposed rail link will run from Finchley Road Tube station to Brent Cross Shopping Centre. The scheme forms part of Railtrack's strategy to regenerate the Cricklewood area, where the company owns much disused land along the existing rail corridor.

The light rail project is being promoted in joint venture with property developer Pillar. It forms part of a retail scheme to rival the proposed £30M extension to Brent Cross, currently the subject of a public inquiry. Railtrack fears the extension would reduce scope for retail development on its land, and so block the proposed light rail link route.

Consultant Halcrow Fox is carrying out feasibility studies, which include vertical and horizontal alignments of the route, and ridership analysis. The scheme is being project managed by Bellhouse Joseph.

Joint chairman Jonathan Joseph said: 'The scheme will live or die by the outcome of the public inquiry into the shopping centre extension. If it is to go ahead it will be about five years before it goes to site.'

Officials on the £167m Nottingham Express Transit scheme have revealed that complex Private Finance Initiative negotiations have delayed the project by 'a couple of months'. The contracts were due to be signed in the early summer. It now looks as though contracts will be signed in August.

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