Transport for London (TfL) has secured a £1bn loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to finance its Crossrail project.
The project is one of Europe’s largest construction programmes and will see a high-frequency service connect areas east and west of the capital. The new service will run 118km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west through new twin-bore 21km tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
According to TfL, the six-year EIB loan facility will provide international recognition of Crossrail’s importance and will make a significant contribution to the UK economy.
Simon Brooks, vice-president of the EIB, said: ‘By providing a much-needed boost to rail capacity in London and the south east, Crossrail will help to develop London as a sustainable world city by reducing congestion and pollution for the benefit of Londoners, commuters and visitors. It will also link London more efficiently into the European and global transport networks.’
Mayor Boris Johnson added: ‘I am especially pleased to have this backing for our drive to provide London with the facilities required to keep the capital one of the world’s leading cities.’
Crossrail is due to open in 2017 and is intended to increase London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent. The project is expected to employ 14,000 people at its peak and support a further 7,000 jobs indirectly.
Construction work began at Canary Wharf in May and is currently continuing at Tottenham Court Road with tunnel boring machines expected for launch in 2011.