Yee-hah! Woo-hoo! Yippy-kayay! And other such celebratory noises. After umpteen years (actually 20 or so) and countless debates and immeasurable lengths of newspaper footage, Crossrail has today been given the funding green light.
Londonist can only join the chorus of approval on this. To quote the Man in Seat 61:
Like the RER in Paris, this will bring suburban trains right through the centre of the city and out the other side, relieving the Underground and for many passengers, avoiding the need to switch from train to Tube at all. But whereas other countries seem to plan ahead, we Brits prefer things to reach crisis point before we do anything.
And that is the whole point – the situation on London Transport generally is reaching meltdown, and anything which effectively relieves the pressure has to be applauded. This link will connect East to West, commuters to their jobs and core industrial sites to each other, and should considerably ease the existing infrastructure. Mayor Livingstone is dead keen:
Crossrail is the single biggest addition we can and need to make to London’s infrastructure.
The case is overwhelming.
Only a cynic would even notice the impending mayoral elections and shadow of a snap general election, let alone mention these as possible factors in the timing of the announcement.
There is a little ‘but’, which we’ll sneak in at the end of this piece. For those of you overcome by euphoria at the thought of all those sunny skies ahead, stop reading here so that you may sleep easy tonight and dream of halved journey times and easy commutes.
The but is this: our man at TfL reckons that there will be a significant and lasting price to pay for this. 16 billion is a lot of spondulicks to have to cough up, private investors or not. There will be belt-tightening, there will be whingeing, and a lot of other worthwhile projects will be filed, shelved and lost. Tube improvements, trams, even that big of dodgy paving at the end of your road – forget it!
Picture courtesy of don-piefcone’s flickr stream.