Transport secretary declares he has no plans to alter scope of rail project

Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond has said that economic case for Crossrail depends “to quite a considerable extent” on the completion of the spurs to the east and west of central London.

On a visit this afternoon to the site of the Canary Wharf Crossrail station, he said that the government had “no plans to change the scope of the project.”

Dropping the overground spurs, to Abbey Wood in the east and Maidenhead in the west, was one of the options under consideration by an internal Crossrail team tasked with saving money at the end of last month.

Asked if they were likely to go ahead, Mr Hammond said: “The economics of the project, as I understand it, depend to quite a considerable extent on harvesting the traffic from the extreme ends of the proposed network.”

“The DFT funding is committed to the project, but obviously the project budget is under constant review with Crossrail and the sponsors of the project,” he said.

“We want to see this project delivered in its entirety and we have no plans to change the scope of it.”

“We will look for every opportunity to engineer out costs,” he added.

Hammond also met Terry Morgan, Crossrail chairman, and Rob Holden, chief executive of the scheme before he inspected the Canary Wharf site.

Holden said that the meeting had been “very positive”.

“We discussed completing the scope of the project at the lowest possible cost,” he said.

He said that major cutbacks to the project, such as axing the spurs or central London stations, had not been discussed.