Quango cuts and Crossrail and Thameslink Rumours

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With the 20th of October fast approaching, rumours have begun to surface as to the likely ways in which Transport spending will be affected by the coming budget cuts.

Already, some things have become clear. Today, the Government confirmed a number of “Quangos” which they intend to close. The full list can be found here, but from a transport perspective these included such bodies as the Commission for Integrated Transport, Cycling England, the Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee and the Railway Heritage Committee.

The biggest announcements are, of course, yet to come. The Financial Times, however, claims that Crossrail will be delayed by upwards of a year, but will otherwise emerge largely unscathed. This would be good news for the capital, and indeed not an entirely unsurprising change. There has been talk for some time that the original tunnelling method (with two bores meeting beneath the city) might change to a single-bore approach, which would have likely resulted in timescale changes anyway. Similarly, some had queried whether the original timescales were too aggressive anyway.

The FT suggest, though, that the outlook may be less good for Thameslink. Although not much in the way of detail is mentioned, the FT claim that its rolling stock order may suffer. Other rumours have been circulating among various industry sources that Phase 2 of Thameslink may also see some drastic reworking, although there has been little in the way of reliable confirmation of this possibility.

Elsewhere, the FT suggest that the IEP – the new Intercity Programme – will also be abandoned. This has, it is probably fair to say, not exactly been the best project in either design or execution at the DfT for some time, so its complete cancellation would be unsurprising.

Overall, it will only be next week that the full picture becomes clear. If things pan out as the FT suggest though, it may be that Crossrail emerges relatively unscathed. What that would mean for Thameslink and the Underground Upgrades, however, is entirely open to question.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.