Crossrail is a new suburban rail service for London and the South-East. It will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow (though not Terminal 5) in the West through the West End, the City of London, and Canary Wharf to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East. The central section between Paddington and Canary Wharf is a new section of underground railway. The sections to the west and east run on existing track which Network Rail is developing as part of the programme.
Crossrail is currently the biggest construction project in Europe, with a total funding package of £14.8 billion, provided or underwritten by the Department for Transport (which provides £4.8 billion and underwrites private funding of £0.5m), Network Rail (£2.3 billion), Transport for London (£1.9 billion) and private sector contributions (£5.3bn). Tunnelling was 50 per cent complete in January 2014; in February 2014 the rolling stock contract was awarded to Bombardier and a Crossrail operator will be appointed later this year. The railway is due to open fully in 2019, when there will be 24 trains an hour running on the central section at peak times.
This inquiry will examine the Department for Transport’s assurance over its investment in Crossrail, looking at its financial exposure, its role as a joint sponsor (with Transport for London) and current forecasts of the programme’s delivery against schedule and budget.