Crossrail prepares for bids from train manufacturers

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The Independent Online

Crossrail, the proposed £15.9bn Berkshire-to-Essex rail link that will run through central London, will invite bids this summer to build commuter trains for the project.

An industry source estimated that the contract would be worth £600m to £900m, as Crossrail bosses look to get their trains built ahead of the rail link's 2017 launch.

About £1.6bn of contracts have already been awarded. A source close to the scheme said that this should reach £2bn by the expected date of the general election in May and £3bn by the end of the year.

More than 2,500 people are currently working on Crossrail, many on designing stations. A year ago, there were less than 400. During peak construction around 14,500 workers will be involved in the rail link.

High Speed Rail 2 (HS2), which will create a 250mph link between Birmingham and Euston station in London, was announced last week by the Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis.

A future extension to northern England and Scotland is also planned, though work on HS2 is unlikely to start for at least seven years.

HS1, which links the Channel Tunnel to St Pancras International station was completed in 2007.