ON HIS second day in office, Strategic Rail Authority Chairman Richard Bowker launched construction work on the Edinburgh Crossrail project on December 4. Joined by Scottish Minister of Transport Wendy Alexander, he participated in ceremonies at Newcraighall station southeast of the capital (below).

Backed by £8·5m of Scottish Executive funding, the Crossrail service is due to start running in June. ScotRail trains from Bathgate and Dunblane west of Edinburgh will continue along the East Coast main line to Portobello, and then head south on what is currently a freight-only branch. This will provide a half-hourly service to the new stations at Brunstane and Newcraighall, where a park-and-ride interchange is being developed.

Two days later, Bowker joined Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Transport Secretary Stephen Byers at Dalston to mark the start of work on the East London line northern extension. Conversion of London Underground’s cross-river branch into a north-south corridor linking Islington and Dalston to Croydon and Wimbledon is due to be completed in 2006 (RG 11.01 p732).