Crossrail: Government Approves, But At What Cost?

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 106 months ago
Crossrail: Government Approves, But At What Cost?

Canary Wharf Crossrail station
New Transport minister Philip Hammond wasted little time in addressing the future of Crossrail under the inchoate Torycrat administration, vowing that the project will be completed:

"It's happening, it's being built, spades are in the groundÂ… We are making sure that in delivering the project we absolutely optimise value for money."

The former shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury knows acutely well the perilous state of Britain's finances, so those last three words will be a key mantra as beancounters begin to squeeze some pips on the project's £16 billion price tag and ensure everything is value engineered to within an inch of its life. It probably means fewer ambitious (and costly) stations like the Foster- designed Isle of Dogs, and more like "Leyton Asda"-inspired Paddington.

Though Hammond didn't give any assurances that the project would be completed on-time in 2017, we can at least be happy that Crossrail still exists at all, given the Tory tendency to slash and burn transport infrastructure projects. Perhaps there is a small element of electoral self-preservation in this decision: younger, impressionable voters wouldn't have been best pleased had the Astoria been torn down for naught.

Last Updated 14 May 2010