Don’t moan about Crossrail. Once complete, it will be a rare triumph in our public realm | Will Hutton
We should celebrate the Elizabeth line yet deplore the lack of other infrastructure spending
Last week saw a major payday lender go bust, a significant British company, Costa, sold overseas for short-term reasons and executive salaries continuing to soar. Yet a disproportionate amount of public hand-wringing will be directed at Crossrail, now deferring its opening by a year while over-running its budget – further proof of the endemic inability of the British public sector to do anything well (in contrast with the ineluctable efficiency of Britain’s private sector).
Let’s sing a different tune. Therailway line, more than 60 miles long, linking Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east – adding 10% to London’s commuter rail capacity – and set to carry around 200 million passengers a year, will be a fantastic achievement. Its 13-mile-long tunnels run more than 100ft under the capital’s streets, navigating everything from underground sewers to the deep foundations of skyscrapers with superb engineering aplomb. The longstanding reproach is that Britain can’t do grand projects. Crossrail, now christened the Elizabeth line, is proof that we can.
Too many subcontractors in the supply chain see a golden opportunity to fleece the state
Source: Guardian Transport
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