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12May94 UK: CROSSRAIL DERAILED BY COMMITEE MPS.

The £2.6 billion London CrossRail was dramatically derailed this week when the Commons private Bill committee rejected the principle of the scheme.Steven Norris, the London public transport minister, said he was 'very disappointed'.But he said transport secretary John MacGregor and cabinet colleagues would now consider a government-backed hybrid Bill to revive the project. But this could not be done without a damaging delay and unnecessary blight.The Government could reintroduce the project in a similar or revised form at a later date, including possibly a link between CrossRail and the Channel Tunnel rail link.Unlike other types of Bill, a private member's Bill cannot be revived. This was sudden death.Tony Marlow, the Tory chairman of the private Bill committee, failed to give reasons for the decision but during the 32 days of evidence and argument the committee showed that it was sceptical about a number of aspects.It seriously questioned the need for the scheme, querying estimates of future growth in London. It suggested other, cheaper alternatives may be better and cast doubt on whether private sector money would be forthcoming. CONSTRUCTION NEWS