Page last updated at 23:18 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 00:18 UK

Crossrail project gets 1bn loan

Artist impression of Crossrail train
The scheme will connect Maidenhead in Berkshire to Shenfield, Essex

The Crossrail project, which will run through London connecting Berkshire to Essex, has received £1bn in funding.

European Investment Bank will lend the money to Transport for London (TfL) for the rail link, to run from Maidenhead via London and up to Shenfield.

The £16bn scheme will be completed by 2017. About £7.7bn has to be raised by TfL and the Greater London Authority.

European Investment Bank (EIB) said the rail project will link London "more efficiently" to Europe.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said the loan gave "a billion more reasons to proceed with the unstoppable force that is Crossrail".

Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson says the business case for the project is now "overwhelming"

"It is one of the largest loans ever secured for a transport project," he said

European Investment Bank's vice-president Simon Brooks said: "By providing a much-needed boost to rail capacity in London and south east England, Crossrail will help to develop London as a sustainable world city by reducing congestion and pollution for the benefit of Londoners, commuters and visitors.

"It will also link London more efficiently into the European and global transport networks."

Starting as far west as Maidenhead in Berkshire, the 72-mile Crossrail route will include a link to Heathrow airport and will run through central London and out eastwards to Shenfield in Essex.

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