The joint venture between Department for Transport and Transport for London follows a consultation process beginning in 2003 which outlined a need to reduce congestion and improve passenger capacity in addition to existing rail networks. Last October the Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that a funding package of £15.9 billion was secured for the construction of the new route which it is believed will create a £20billion boost to the wider UK economy.
Douglas Oakervee, Executive Chairman of Cross London Rail Links said: “Royal Assent is the most significant milestone in the history of Crossrail. After years of planning and discussion, we are ready to move into the delivery phase of a project that will benefit London, the south east region and the UK as a whole.
“Up to 14,000 people will be employed in the construction, and training schemes are planned to help equip Londoners along the route with the skills to secure these jobs. This will be a project for the whole community - a new world class affordable railway that London expects and deserves.”
The Crossrail Act grants powers to acquire land and for Crossrail to be built and maintained. The development will see new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Isle of Dogs (Canary Wharf) - then out to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, and when complete, there will be 24 trains per hour in each direction through Central London during peak times.Enabling works will take place next year, with main construction works set to begin in 2010. The achievement of Royal Assent means that the project could now be operational by 2017.
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly said: “This landmark project is of major significance to both London and the whole country. It will generate jobs and economic growth, help re-vitalise some of our most deprived areas and deliver major improvements for the travelling public.
“Crossrail has been talked about for decades, so I am delighted that now we have secured both the funding package and parliamentary approval work can finally begin to deliver this fantastic project.”