Ian Lindsay has been property manager for the Crossrail Project since 2011 and has overseen the purchasing, planning and first stages of building the line.
The link, expected to be operational in 2018, will run from Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east to Maidenhead in the west, taking in locations such as Heathrow, Tottenham Court Road and Canary Wharf.
The main difference commuters will notice between Crossrail and the rest of London’s transport network will be its physical size. Full-sized trains will be used on the track – an average tunnel on the London Underground has a width of around 3.5m whereas Crossrail will have double that, as well as much larger platforms.
Unlike the Tube, Crossrail will serve only a small number of locations in the capital – so why should Londoners care about it?
“It is not just for the people that use it,” said Ian. “By commuters using this service, it will ease the burden on the rest of the transport network in London.
“Roads and the Tube will be easier to use, so it will benefit everyone.”
The price for the purchasing of the land along the line eventually landed on around £850million, largely with compulsory purchase orders, and it was a price Ian was keen to defend.
“There was obviously a bit of negotiating as to the price we were prepared to pay for the land,” he said. “But overall I am happy with the deals we have got, and I am confident Crossrail will be completed on time.”
He also suggested the economic benefits the project would bring to previously overlooked areas along its lines would be vast.
“It has a huge regeneration benefit,” he said. “It is estimated the Crossrail will add around £5.5billion to the value of property along the line.
“In areas such as Woolwich and Southall, we will see new homes built and more people moving there.”
Another unique factor about Crossrail is that it will need to be largely self-financing, with around £500million needed to be generated from outside investment.
“One of the big streams of revenue is expected to be monetising the Crossrail stations with shops and businesses.
“It is quite unique in that way,” he said. “We are keen to talk to all investors who are interested.”
Despite plans for a Crossrail Two to link north and south London being widely discussed, he was keen not to speculate on how possible such a project might be.
He said: “At the moment we have enough work on getting Crossrail One up and running. People need to see the end result of this project to know that we would be able to deliver it.”