Hong Kong firm is awarded the £1.4bn contract to run Crossra

Hong Kong rail experts MTR were today awarded the £1.4 billion contract to operate Crossrail services when the line opens in 2018.

The company will hire 1,100 staff, including 400 train drivers, and will begin by taking over the Liverpool Street to Shenfield line next May.

MTR, which already runs the London Overground in partnership with  Deutsche Bahn,   also operates metros in Stockholm, Beijing and the other Chinese cities of  Shenzhen and Hangzhou, and Melbourne.

It  is expert in running high-frequency metro services —  Hong Kong’s is even busier than London, carrying 4.5  million  passengers a day — and its 24-hour services there provided the  inspiration for London’s Night Tube.

Howard Smith, operations director at Crossrail, told the Standard: “We were looking for the people who were going to deliver the best Crossrail. They will focus relentlessly on reliability. They are 50 per cent of the London Overground operator and have  decades of experience running trains extremely reliably in Hong Kong and have a good record in Melbourne and Stockholm.

“We will be from next year promising to have staff at all stations from start to finish and running lots of extra trains, with about 850 new jobs in the railway industry in London.”

The £1.4bn deal covers concession payments to MTR over the eight-year contract term, before any bonuses or penalties.

MTR beat off competition from Arriva, National Express and  Keolis/Go Ahead.

Crossrail services are being awarded as a concession by TfL, similar to the one awarded by Transport for London  for the London Overground. Services to Shenfield will initially operate with the current rolling stock but will be gradually replaced in 2017 by new Crossrail trains.

When the £16 billion Crossrail is fully operational in December 2019 it will serve 40 stations and run 72 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west, and through 13-mile tunnels below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. Mayor Boris Johnson said he was  “delighted” by the MTR deal.


Source: http://www.standard.co.uk