Thursday, 27 May 2010

Government considering big cuts to Crossrail

The government are considering cuts of almost a third to the Crossrail project, including scrapping stations and axing two branches of the line.

According to a report by Building Magazine (H/T @DaveHill)

All the options under consideration include:

  • Dropping one of the planned central London stations
  • Dropping or reducing some spurs outside central London, including the link to Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood in the east, and Maidenhead in the west
  • Reducing the trains from 12 to 10 carriages, thereby minimising the size of stations
  • Wide-ranging value engineering for the rest of the project.
A source close to the process said: “The team is being asked to look at the whole scheme. If you took out both spurs and reduced the platforms and stations then they’re looking at £4-5bn of cuts.”

The Mayor and Peter Hendy are currently in "crunch talks" with the new Transport Secretary Philip Hammond about the project according to the Standard. quotes former Tory Mayoral candidate and current TfL board member Steve Norris as saying:

"If you’re going to cut Abbey Wood or Maidenhead you might as well shelve the whole lot."

Please Steve, don't give them any ideas.

-Update- Crossrail officials say that claims about cuts of a third are "way off the mark." Is this all about expectation management?


John B said...

Shit, if even road-tastic Steve is in favour they can't cancel it... can they?

I'm still on the theory that they're going to punish the shit out of London, both for denying them a proper election victory through insufficient Blue-ness, and to neutralise Boris as a Cameron opponent.

Anonymous said...

I bet you a fiver we see Boris emerging from these "crunch talks" having "saved" the project. This is all spin if you ask me.

AdamB said...

It may well turn out to be just that Anon. Hopefully so.

John B - I thought it was interesting to see the timing of the Spectator's rather shrill attack on Boris this month. An attempt to put him in his place perhaps.

Jack said...

They give a saving figure for cutting the length of the trains (and therefore the platforms), but there doesn't seem to be an amount given for how much it would cost a decade after completion to extend the platforms when they discover the trains are insuffrably congested.

Richard Baffoe said...

CLRL has had a backup plan in place for a very very long time. Do remember the plans have not always been as extravagant as they have been in recent years. The line will have to go to Canary Wharf and Heathrow regardless of anything that else happens. Yes, even at the expense of the Shenfield Branch, which with its current excellent service, could be the scapegoat for cuts. After all, it'll be after 2012, there'll be no reason to give stratford a boost anymore..

jamesup said...

Would love to know more about the backup plan...

IMHO, the important bit is building a proper tunnel with 12 car platforms and stations of sufficient size with good access in the central area.

Get the core right... The rest can follow.

Anonymous said...

Crossrail was always 10 car with passive provision for 12 at underground stations. Given private funding contributions for Crossrail the cost of serving the Isle of Dogs to the public purse is relatively small due to contributions from developers there.

Only real cost saving would be to stop at Canary wharf and not continue to Abbey Wood.

Overground works to Maidenhead are relatively small and paid for by Network Rail.

Govt is only providing a third of the cost of Crossrail - a £5bn cut would be no govt spend on it at all.

AdamB said...

"Govt is only providing a third of the cost of Crossrail - a £5bn cut would be no govt spend on it at all."

Which suggests that this has indeed been over-hyped. But to whose ends?

AdamB said...

Even more examples of which over here