View from the House - MP Mike Gapes on Crossrail’s impact on Ilford

Crossrail boss Matt White, MP Mike Gapes and council leader Keith Prince at the Crossrail depot

Crossrail boss Matt White, MP Mike Gapes and council leader Keith Prince at the Crossrail depot - Credit: Archant

Crossrail, the largest engineering project in Europe, costing a total of £14.8bn, is now beyond half way to completion.

The route runs 100km through 38 stations from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will boost London’s rail-based capacity by 10 per cent, with up to 24 fast trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel.

I have campaigned for the national, London-wide and local benefits of Crossrail for more than 20 years, and as chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Crossrail Group since 2005. The three-year-old Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy is on the edge of my constituency next to the River Roding.

Two weeks ago I took part in the ground breaking ceremony for a further £50m local investment to enlarge and upgrade the Ilford Yard between Seven Kings and Ilford stations.

Work to build 10 sidings to stable 12 of the new nine-carriage Crossrail trains and a new building for train drivers and other staff will be completed by 2016. The trains are to be built by Bombardier in Derby. In addition to the construction jobs there will be 90 permanent local jobs. As well as keeping skilled rail jobs in Ilford, Crossrail will provide a great opportunity to attract other business and investment.

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Commuters from Ilford, Seven Kings, Goodmayes and Chadwell Heath will be the first to be able to use the new trains on the Shenfield to Liverpool Street Line from May 2017. Then, from December 2018, these new trains will take passengers right through the centre of the capital, reducing journey times and making it quicker and easier to get to a whole range of destinations.

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