Start of £16bn Crossrail project hailed

Gordon Brown cast the cares of the Westminster expenses scandal aside for a while today by celebrating the start of major construction work on the £16 billion cross-London Crossrail scheme.

The Prime Minister appeared relaxed as he joined Rail Minister Lord Adonis and London Mayor Boris Johnson at Canary Wharf in London Docklands as a foundation for a new Crossrail station was laid.

Mr Brown said: "Many people said it would never be built, but today we are celebrating a defining moment for London as Crossrail's construction gets under way."

Running from as far west as Maidenhead in Berkshire, the Crossrail main line railway will go through central London as far east as Shenfield in Essex, with links to Heathrow Airport in west London and to Abbey Wood in south London.

At peak times, 24 10-car trains will run an hour in a scheme that was first mooted in 1974 but was scrapped on cost grounds by the Conservative Government in 1994.

Mr Brown said today: "Crossrail will not only mean fast journey times across the capital and beyond, it will also bring a massive economic boost to the city, creating thousands of jobs and adding at least £20 billion to our economy.

"Investment in to important projects like Crossrail, the largest construction project in Europe, is vital to create and protect jobs as well as supporting business, so we can grow our way out of recession and ensure a strong future for London and the country as a whole.



Before today's opening ceremony Mr Brown, Lord Adonis and Mr Johnson were shown large scale models of the Crossrail project, including the new station being built at Canary Wharf - one of a number of new stations on the 73-mile long railway.

There have been concerns that the Conservatives could abandon the project because of the economic conditions should the party win the next general election.

However, Mr Johnson is determined that the scheme goes ahead.

He said today: "The years of hesitation, irresolution and vacillations are over, the shovels have tasted earth and the construction of a railway that is crucial to the economic prosperity of this great city has begun.

"This amazing project will create and support thousands of jobs, relieve congestion and provide a high-speed link between east and west of London.

"When the first of Crossrail's chariots glide smoothly along its lines in 2017 it will change the face of transport in London and the south east forever."



Mr Johnson said that the 1994 decision to abandon Crossrail had been a "cardinal mistake" and it must not happen again.

Mr Brown said it was a great day for Canary Wharf, for public transport, for engineering, for London and for the concept of partnerships.

He said that today's opening showed that no barriers were going to stand in the way of the project and that it was a "signal of faith in the future" adding: "If you don't invest in the future you have no future."

Politicians and guests then moved to the construction site of the new Canary Wharf station where the first of nearly 400 18.5 metre tall steel piles was sunk in to the ground.



With the railway running through tunnels in central London, there will be nine new stations built underground in central London, Docklands and Woolwich in south London as well as 11 major reconstructions of national rail stations along the route.

Preparatory work has already started at Tottenham Court Road station in central London and preparatory work gets under way later this year at Farringdon and Paddington stations.

The Department for Transport will be responsible for £5.6bn of funding for the project with Transport for London responsible for £7.7bn.

The rest of the money is coming from the private sector with airport operator BAA supplying £230m and the Corporation of London funding £200m.



Mr Johnson pressed a button and the steel pile sank into the dock on which the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station will be built.

Afterwards, he said it would be "inconceivable" for any incoming Conservative government to tamper with the Crossrail project.

He repeated his belief that the Tories had been mistaken to scrap Crossrail in 1994 and this mistake had "led to overcrowding and many sweaty journeys on the Tube".

Mr Johnson went on: "I'm absolutely sure that no government in their right minds would tamper with this scheme."

He said he was not going into any detail of any discussions he might have had with the Conservatives concerning the future of Crossrail but he had "every reason to think" that a future Conservative government would understand the importance of the project.

He added that it would be the "height of folly" for any government to abandon Crossrail.

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?