Crossrail to be run by Hong Kong Metro operator MTR beating British rail firms to £1.4bn contract

Lynsey Barber
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Crossrail to be run by MTR (Source: Getty)

Hong Kong transport company MTR has been awarded the lucrative contract to run London’s new Crossrail train service by Transport for London.

MTR already runs London Overground in a partnership with British firm Arriva, which it triumphed over in the bidding. Keolis with partner Go Ahead and National Express were also in the running.

The contract is worth £1.4bn over eight years with the opportunity to extend for a further two years.

It’s expected MTR will employ around 1,100 staff and create 850 new positions in the capital.

MTR will begin running services on the Liverpool Street Shenfield route from May 2015 taking over from Great Anglia, with the Canary Wharf, City and West End route expected to open in 2018.

The full 37-station route running east to west through central London from Maidenhead to Heathrow will open in 2019.

Go Ahead and National Express both expressed disappointment at losing out on the contract. A spokesperson for National Express said:

"We submitted a strong, customer focused bid that we believe would have delivered an excellent service and a fair deal for taxpayers. We are naturally disappointed and will be seeking feedback on our bid from TfL."