CROSS LONDON Rail Links started a new round of public consultation for Crossrail Line 1 on August 5, following the announcement by Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling on July 20 that a hybrid bill could be submitted to Parliament (RG 8.04 p447).

The route is now planned to run from Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport in the west to Shenfield and Ebbsfleet in the east. Proposals for a branch to Richmond and Kingston have been dropped. Instead, Network Rail’s Great Western Main Line would be electrified as far as Maidenhead.

It is still unclear whether Crossrail will go ahead, even if powers are obtained. The business case puts the total cost at £11·9bn, against net revenue benefits of £2·3bn and non-revenue benefits of £18·8bn. The government has only committed £2bn in grant and the Mayor of London expects to raise £2·7bn in additional business property taxes. It is not clear where the money will be found to fill the ’substantial’ funding gap.