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MTR wins Crossrail contract

Words: Sam Waddicor

Hong-Kong based MTR Corporation have been awarded the £1.4 billion contract to run Crossrail services, Transport for London (TFL) has announced.

The contract will run for eight years, with an option to extend it to ten. MTR was one of four companies shortlisted for the contract late in June last year. Arriva, National Express and French firm Keolis, operating through the Go-Ahead group, were the other candidates.

MTR is expected to employ around 1,100 staff, 850 of who will in be new posts. They will include 400 drivers and more than 50 apprenticeships for communities along the route.

Managing director of London Underground and London Rail, Mike Brown, said: "Appointing an operator is a huge step towards the new railway coming to London. The decision to appoint MTR was reached after a thorough and competitive procurement process and we look forward to working with them to transform rail services in the capital.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "As hardworking engineers beaver away underneath our feet on the final construction of Crossrail's tunnels, we are putting the final pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together above ground. I am delighted that we can now announce the new operator of this landmark railway, bringing it one step closer to welcoming passengers aboard."

MTR will begin running services along the Liverpool Street to Shenfield route from 31 May 2015. But it will do so with the existing trains as the new ones do not enter service until 2017.

Photo credit: TFL