John Redwood responds to Department of Transport consultation on the safeguarding of the Maidenhead to Reading Crossrail route

John Redwood has today responded to the Department of Transportation’s consultation on the safeguarding of the Maidenhead to Reading route for the potential future expansion of Crossrail. The consultation does not provide a commitment to extend Crossrail to Reading, but seeks views on whether formal Safeguarding Protections should be issued on the stretch of land that would be used to expand Crossrail from Maidenhead to Reading in the future.

As part of his response to the consultation, John Redwood highlighted the unprecedented population growth which is projected to take place in the South East over the next few years, and pointed out that Wokingham and the area around Reading has borne the brunt of development pressures. Allied to these pressures is the fact that this growing number of people must carry out their business on a transport system that is increasingly unable to meet the needs of a modern economy. John Redwood has told the Department of Transport that the expansion of Crossrail to Reading would help in easing these pressures on commuters, businesses and families.

Speaking about the consultation, John Redwood said: “The sad reality is that my constituents face considerable problems with insufficient capacity, very high fares and an unrealisable service. My constituents often tell me stories of very overcrowded journeys. Other services in the Reading area do not offer enough choice of journey times to be attractive for commuters, forcing people onto the roads when they might be attracted back to the railways by more frequent services”.

“It would be reassuring to know that Reading is being seriously considered for the more regular and faster services to London that would come about through a direct link to Crossrail. The population pressures on Wokingham and the South East demand a transport system that is able to move people about quickly and allows them to carry out their business. The expansion of Crossrail to Reading would be a huge contribution towards meeting that demand. It is for that reason that I support the objectives set out in this consultation”.

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  1. nick
    Posted October 13, 2008 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Then no doubt the residents of Reading who use Crossrail will pay the full cost in their tickets. About 15 quid per ticket (one way) plus running costs on top.

    Somehow I doubt that the residents of Reading will ever use the service if tickets are at that cost.

    No doubt the solution will be to tap some other mugs for the cost in the form of a subsidy.

    Crossrail doesn't stack up finacially. Divided the interest cost by the number of users on a daily basis and its clear it will never do so.


  2. Freeborn John
    Posted October 13, 2008 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    It would be great if a Reading – Maidenhead Crossrail extension could also support rail service to Heathrow from the West. The current Reading Railair (bus) service to Heathrow is not without value but like any bus service can get stuck in traffic on the M4 and is simply too confusing for many international business travellers who instead resort to very expensive taxis or hire cars.

    It is ironic that it is easier and more predictable to get from Reading to Gatwick by direct rail service than it is to get to Heathrow, despite LHR being far closer and the reason so many companies locate in the M4 corridor.

  3. Posted October 13, 2008 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Presumably if Crossrail was not extended to Reading but only to Maidenhead there would be a corresponding decline in the frequency of express services from Reading to London Paddington which would be detrimental to commuters in the Reading area. Therefore I support an extension of Crossrail to Reading.

  4. The Coalition
    Posted October 14, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    The Coalition, a London-wide group, shares some of the concerns of Reading residents regarding the £16 billion Crossrail scheme. We hope the politicians and residents will note that the Crossrail Reading route was not even considered when the Bill was going through Parliament and the Government is now carrying out this consultation after the Bill has received Royal Assent. The irony is most of London does not appear to want Crossrail. Most residents living in Hyde Park, Mayfair, Spitalfields, Shenfield and Whitechapel certainly do not want the present route but are being forced to have Crossrail because of the planners. They do not want the Crossrail route because it is expensive, causes unnecessary harm and goes to areas which do not need or want it. A survey by YouGovStone Poll for the Evening Standard revealed that 47 per cent of Londoners are concerned about the tube where as only 3 per cent even mentioned Crossrail. The defeated ex-Mayor Ken Livingstone featured Crossrail as a major part of his campaign and lost. Sadly it has become clear that Boris Johnson will not review the due diligence or the route despite having taken charge of the project. The City and Canary Wharf want the present Crossrail scheme because they are the primary beneficiaries and are receiving a massive subsidy from Government for the privilege of having nominated the taxpayer to pay for Crossrail. The Coalition is sympathetic to the residents in Reading for the mess that the Government and Crossrail route planners have created. Even this Government cannot think that London taxpayers will bail out the finance and transport sections of the financial districts of London and commuter England..

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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