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Success can be ensured from past lessons

Crossrail must have clear and achievable goals and be informed by commercial and engineering factors alone. By Tom Pemberton and Peter Sheridan

Prestigious rail projects can attract unhelpful interference or overly optimistic goals and political pressures can contribute to unrealistic deadlines. Yet the High Speed 1 (HS1) rail link to the continent demonstrates accurate assessment.

Early contractor involvement and a robustly tested financial model encourages realistic objectives. In contrast to the West Coast Mainline (WCML) upgrade, HS1 was brought in within its £5.8 billion budget and completed as planned in late 2007. Crossrail has adopted a similar approach.

While all rail projects differ, a formula for success can be gleaned from projects such as HS1. Its success has generated political confidence that schemes such as Crossrail can be delivered within budget and timetable.

Tom Pemberton and Peter Sheridan are partners at law firm Shadbolt LLP

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