The delivery of Crossrail, the proposed east-west underground train link to improve the transport connections to Heathrow airport, has taken a “major step” forward after BAA has agreed to invest £230m.
The deal sees the Spanish-controlled operator of seven UK airports become the first private company to agree a major investment in the £16bn project to link Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east through a series of new tunnels under central London.
The new rail link is scheduled to be operational in 2017 and will carry 200m passengers a year.
Approximately £5bn is being provided by the Department for Transport and a further £7.7bn by Transport for London, leaving a shortfall of over £3bn dependent on private sector funding.
Mike Forster, BAA’s strategy director, said: “This vital new link will directly connect the City and Canary Wharf to the airport, complementing our existing Heathrow Express service and taking thousands of cars off the roads.”
In return for BAA’s investment, Crossrail will guarantee a fast train service to Heathrow four times an hour for the majority of the day.