Transport for London (TfL) has awarded Hong-Kong based MTR Corporation a £1.4bn contract to run the new Crossrail contract when operations commence in 2018. It is expected to create around 1,100 new operation and engineering jobs; around 400 drivers will be employed and there will be around 50 jobs reserved for apprentices from the communities along the Crossrail route.
MTR was one of four train companies shortlisted to bid for the contract. MTR already operates the Hong Kong metro system as well as the London Overground alongside Arriva UK Trains.
The other companies included Arriva, Keolis and National Express. The contract will run for eight years with the option to extend for another ten years afterwards.
Managing Director of London Underground and London Rail, Mike Brown, said: “Appointing an operator is a huge step towards the new railway coming to London. The decision to appoint MTR was reached after a thorough and competitive procurement process and we look forward to working with them to transform rail services in the capital. Crossrail will help cut journey times, make it easier for people travelling across the city and create jobs and support growth and regeneration along the route. As our population grows faster than any other European city, the case for stable and sustained investment in London’s transport network has never been stronger.”
London Mayor, Boris Johnson, said: “As hardworking engineers beaver away underneath our feet on the final construction of Crossrail’s tunnels, we are putting the final pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together above ground. I am delighted that we can now announce the new operator of this landmark railway, bringing it one step closer to welcoming passengers aboard. Crossrail will revolutionise east-west transit in the capital, making London an even more attractive place to visit and invest.”
The Crossrail line will run from Reading, through the capital reaching Shenfield in Essex and Gravesend in Kent. The project is expected to reduce overcrowding on the London Underground network and significantly reduce passenger journey times in and out of the capital. The entire project is said to support around 50,000 full time jobs around the UK.