Hopes for Crossrail 2 lifted as chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss gets the £31bn rail project added to her portfolio

 
Rebecca Smith
The first Crossrail project is set to be fully open by the end of 2019
The first Crossrail project is set to be fully open by the end of 2019 (Source: Getty)

Crossrail 2 hopes were given a boost after it emerged Treasury minister Liz Truss had been given responsibility for Crossrail 2 last week.

Marking the first notable mention of Crossrail 2 by the government since the election, the rail project has appeared as part of Truss’ portfolio in her Treasury profile, since moving from her former position as justice secretary. The Treasury said the portfolios were updated last week.

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In her role as chief secretary to the Treasury, Truss is responsible for public expenditure, infrastructure spending, housing and planning and roads. HS2 and Crossrail 2 are also both listed in her responsibilities, as they are associated with significant costs.

They also came under the umbrella of her predecessor David Gauke’s portfolio, but the inclusion of Crossrail 2 will be a positive signal for proponents of the scheme that the government is seriously considering the project's progression. Concerns had been raised by its omission from the Conservative manifesto and the Queen’s speech, as well as the snap General Election throwing its timeline off-track.

The rail link would serve stations throughout the south east, running from Wimbledon in the south west of the capital to Tottenham Hale in the north east. TfL forecasts the development will unlock 200,000 extra jobs and lead to the construction of 200,000 homes, as well as helping to address a predicted surge in crowding on London's transport system.

TfL provided a business and funding case to the department for transport (DfT) in March, and has been pushing for the go-ahead since, though discussions have been ongoing over funding for the project.

London mayor Sadiq Khan will meet transport secretary Chris Grayling for crunch talks next week, with Crossrail 2 expected to be high on the agenda. The mayor's deputy for transport Val Shawcross said earlier this month that the Crossrail 2 team was hoping the government will be in a position to "give us some hints of direction" on the rail project's future when the talks take place.

A DfT spokesperson said: “As with all transport scheme proposals a thorough analysis is being carried out by the department to ensure it is a robust scheme.

“This includes examining whether the National Infrastructure Commission’s detailed recommendations on the scheme have been met.

“These considerations are part of a normal ongoing process, and the next steps and timescales will be decided as part of our analysis."

Read more: Crossrail 2: TfL's latest revised route scraps Kings Road Chelsea station