02:25PM, Friday 07 September 2018
Copyright: Transport for London
Delays to Crossrail in central London have prompted uncertainty over when it will be rolled out in Slough.
On Friday, August 31, Crossrail announced that the central section of the new £15billion Elizabeth Line will open in autumn 2019, almost a year later than the planned launch in December.
The western end of the line, which runs through Langley, Slough and Burnham to Reading, was originally expected to open in December 2019, but Crossrail has been unable to confirm whether that section is still on schedule.
A spokesman said the western line will be opened ‘as soon as possible’ after the central section becomes operational.
Crossrail said more tests are needed ahead of the central section launch to ‘ensure a safe and reliable railway for customers from day one’.
Reacting to the announcement, Slough Borough Council leader Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) said: “It is regrettable that the London part of Crossrail is suffering delays and we will be pushing Crossrail to ensure the Slough, Langley and Burnham stations remain as close as possible to the original timeline.
“We see Crossrail as a significant opportunity in our major regeneration plans and look forward to the extra connectivity Crossrail will bring to Slough.“
Crossrail, a project that will link Slough to Reading, central London and Heathrow Airport, has become a key feature of the borough’s regeneration plans.
The new 100km train line is expected to be used by 200 million passengers every year, and is anticipated to bring a big boost to businesses in Slough, Burnham and Langley.
Despite the delay, business figures in the borough remain upbeat about the impact the project will have once complete.
Paul Britton, CEO at the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Thames Valley continues to be bolstered by major infrastructure projects and are fully supportive of Crossrail, the delivery of the Western@ Rail Link, the East-West growth corridor and expansion at Heathrow. Once up and running, they will all have a phenomenal impact on not only those living and working in the area, but also businesses that call the region home.
“As one of the most important and successful gateways into the UK for trade and inward investment, sustained investment in our infrastructure systems and strong intra-regional transportation is key.”
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