London/East Anglia: Hong Kong Metro operator MTR wins contract to run Crossrail services
- Credit: PA
The £1.4billion contract to run the Crossrail services, which will include new direct links from the East Anglian mainline at Shenfield, has been awarded to to Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation.
MTR beat off competition from rivals including National Express and Arriva to win the concession, which will run for eight years with an option to extend to 10 years.
Announcing the deal today, Transport for London (TfL) said MTR was expected to employ around 1,100 staff including up to 850 new roles. This will include around 400 drivers and more than 50 apprenticeships for people from communities along the route.
The £14.5bn Crossrail project will see trains running from as far west of the capital as Reading in Berkshire and as far east as Shenfield in Essex, with links to south London as well.
Due to fully open by the end of 2019, Crossrail is intended to transform a number of overcrowded central London Underground stations and drastically improve cross-London journey times.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is great news for passengers across the capital and marks a significant milestone in the project.
“Crossrail will provide a better and faster service for millions of commuters and will help create up to 30,000 additional jobs in central London by 2026.”
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He went on: “Crossrail is a part of our long-term economic plan and one of the many rail infrastructure projects benefitting from record levels of Government investment.
“Together with Thameslink, investment in rail in the North and a major electrification programme, we are creating jobs, boosting business and generating lasting economic growth across the UK.”
MTR will start running the services from the end of May 2015 between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, taking over the stopping services currently operated by Abellio Greater Anglia. They will be using the existing trains that currently operate on the route.
New trains will begin entering service with in 2017. The route through Canary Wharf, the City and the West End will open in late 2018, with the full route running from late 2019.
Jay Walder, chief executive of MTR, which runs the metro system in Hong Kong and also operates the London Overground concession with Arriva Uk Trains, described Crossrail as “a 21st century railway for a 21st century London”.
He added: “Crossrail’s success will be finally realised through pioneering and sustaining a culture to deliver world class performance. We will work passionately, with TfL, to achieve this.”