McAslan and Wilkinson Eyre among practices appointed as Crossrail boss lays out PFI funding plan.
A who's who of British architectural talent has been appointed to update station designs for the £10bn Crossrail project in London after the government threw its weight behind the scheme last month.

The practices chosen include Ian Ritchie Architects, John McAslan & Partners, Weston Williamson and Hawkins/Brown.

Most have experience of working on the Jubilee Line extension or other large railway projects, however the list also includes Fereday Pollard Architects and Acanthus Lawrence & Wrightson, which are newcomers to the sector.

Wilkinson Eyre has been reappointed for Liverpool Street station, which includes an eight-storey property development.

The appointments have been made by Cross London Rail Links Limited, Crossrail's parent company.

A Crossrail spokesperson said: "We have been rethinking and reviewing the appointments for each station. It doesn't mean we will use the same practice we did before."

The architects have been appointed to work with civil engineers, which will act as lead consultants. They include Mott MacDonald, Scott Wilson and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

We have tremendous support from the business community

Crossrail boss Norman Haste

The work does not entail any thoroughgoing redesigns. The stations will be updated to comply with fresh regulations, principally in the disability and discrimination act. Street level entrances to ticket halls are also to be revised to comply with design briefs set by council planners.

Revised station designs are to be submitted in October. They will then be put out for public consultation.

Norman Haste, chief executive of Crossrail, intends to ask the government to run the project as a PFI. He said he wanted to award a 30-year contract to design, build and operate the network.

He added that revenue risk, in the event that demand fell below expectations, should not be borne by the PFI consortium.

The contract for the rail link will be advertised in the European Union's Official Journal next year if the government accepts the recommendations. Haste said: "It will attract the largest companies in Europe."

Crossrail hopes to make use of the business rate to fund the estimated £10bn project cost. Haste said: "We have tremendous support from the business community, and they have offered to make a contribution. It is likely to come through the business rate system."

Business rates are normally paid to local councils but under Haste's proposals some companies near Crossrail stations would make a direct contribution to the project.