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MTR Corporation wins £1.4bn contract to run Crossrail services

MTR Corporation has been awarded a £1.4bn contract by Transport for London (TfL) to operate Crossrail services.

The company, which together with Arriva already runs London's Overground metro service, signed the contract for eight years with an option to extend to 10 years. It is also expected to employ around 1,100 staff with up to 850 new posts.

MTR will start running the services from 31 May 2015 between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, taking over the stopping services currently operated by Abellio Greater Anglia. They will be using the existing trains that currently operate on the route.

When MTR takes over the Liverpool Street to Shenfield services all stations along that route will, for the first time, be staffed from first to last train. The trains and stations will also be cleaned and refreshed.

The new operator will also work closely with TfL, Bombardier and Crossrail Limited on the introduction of new trains which will begin entering service from 2017.

MTR Corporation is the operator of Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR) but has expanded to operate a number of other metro systems around the world, notably in Beijing, Stockholm and Melbourne.

Mike Brown MVO, managing director London Underground and London Rail, 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.”

This is the culmination of a competitive procurement process to appoint an operator that began last year with four shortlisted bidders, which included Arriva Crossrail Limited; MTR Corporation; National Express Group PLC; and Keolis/Go Ahead.

The route through Canary Wharf, the City and the West End, which will speed up connections and relieve pressure on London's crowded underground, will open in late 2018, with the full route running from late 2019.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is great news for passengers across the capital and marks a significant milestone in the project. Crossrail will provide a better and faster service for millions of commuters and will help create up to 30,000 additional jobs in central London by 2026.”

Jeremy Long, chief executive of MTR’s European business, added: “MTR knows London very well. Over the past seven years, we have developed a strong partnership and collaborative working relationship with TfL and Network Rail through our joint venture operations of London Overground.

“We will build on these partnerships to establish Crossrail as a railway that provides operational excellence and the highest possible level of customer service for London.”

Jeremy Long is a regular contributor to RTM. See for example:

What can we learn about introducing ATO from around the world?

Metro style services on heavy rail lines

Continuous improvement holds the key to world-renowned efficiency

London Overground's managing director also recently wrote for RTM, explaining how MTR Corporation, Deutsche Bahn/Arriva and Transport for London have jointly delivered such a successful service:

Developing the London Overground together

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