Crossrail close to new chief

Final interviews have taken place for the top job at Crossrail, the £15bn Heathrow-to-Essex rail link, with project programme director Andy Mitchell among the remaining candidates.

It is understood that Mr Mitchell and Mark Bayley, the former head of London & Continental Railways, were two of the four candidates interviewed for the chief executive role last Tuesday and Wednesday.

Current chief Rob Holden, who was also Mr Bayley's predecessor at LCR, is leaving in July. A Crossrail source said that internally people would be "ecstatic" if Mr Mitchell got the role.

The preferred candidate will shortly be taken to London's City Hall and the Department for Transport, to get the appointment signed off by senior government officials.

Although the salary for the job comes in at £550,000, this is not considered to be a hefty enough pay packet to have attracted some of the heavy hitters whose names have been linked to the role.