Proposals to extend the £14.8 billion Crossrail could see Harrow linked to the high-speed rail, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced today.

If the extension plan goes ahead, there will be Crossrail links, providing faster commuter services and reducing journey times by 15 minutes to stations, Harrow and Wealdstone, Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhampstead and Watford Junction.

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Leader of Harrow Council has welcomed the new plans, Councillor David Perry (Labour) said: “Any additional investment from the Government in London’s infrastructure  is welcome, along with the potential regeneration opportunities this will bring to Harrow.

"As the announcement has only just made the details have yet to be known, but we will follow developments closely and work with all organisations to ensure any extension to Crossrail supports our priorities to support local businesses and get young people into work in Harrow.”

Harrow Council Leader, Councillor David Perry
 

Crossrail is the new high frequency, high capacity railway for London and the South East, the existing Crossrail, due to be fully operational by 2019, will see fast trains running from Reading in Berkshire through central London to Shenfield in Essex.

Chair of the Harrow's Public Transport Users Association, Anthony Wood told the Observer: "I had heard rumours from the industry that the trains from the East of London that were due to terminate at Paddington and return to the East might be extended up the West Coast mainline to Watford Junction. I welcome this proposal."

Mr McLoughlin said: "We are looking at proposals to extend Crossrail services even further by opening a new route to key destinations in Hertfordshire.

"We're going to examine, right away, how we can run extra services direct into the city and through to Canary Wharf from key stations like Tring, Hemel Hempstead, Harrow and Watford - without the frustrating need to change at Euston."

Initial analysis suggests 40 per cent of passengers travelling into London from these locations finish their journeys within 1km of a Crossrail station, compared to just 10 per cent within 1km of Euston.

The link would have the added benefit of reducing congestion at the station, specifically for passengers using the southbound Northern and Victoria lines.

Work continues on the Crossrail tunnel at Westbourne Park

Mr McLoughlin added: "Preliminary analysis has indicated that the link could potentially reduce journey times to central London by up to 15 minutes.

"I want to get on with this work, so I have asked HS2 Ltd to work closely with the Crossrail sponsors to explore the proposals in more detail.

"I have made clear to my department that any changes must not affect the timetable or planned service pattern for the existing Crossrail scheme, which is scheduled to be fully operational by 2019.

"Of course - as with any feasibility study - final decisions would be subject to a wide range of considerations, including affordability."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “I have always maintained that the renaissance of Euston is a fantastic opportunity for regeneration in our city and one we should not miss.

"Providing a new rail route into the capital for passengers from Hertfordshire will be vital for Euston to be properly redeveloped to accommodate HS2 and to maximise the delivery of new homes and jobs in London and beyond.”

What do you think of these plans? Email caitlin.black@trinitymirror.com

In photos: Reality of Crossrail construction site brings home the effect HS2 will have on community