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The need for extra capacity along this corridor is such that the former head of Tf L, Sir Peter Hendy, predicted that the Crossrail lines will be "immediately full" as soon as they open.

The concept of large-diameter tunnels crossing central London to connect Paddington in the west and Liverpool Street in the east was first proposed by railwayman George Dow in The Star newspaper in June 1941.

The north–south line proposed routing West Coast Main Line, Thameslink, and Great Northern trains through Euston and King's Cross/St Pancras, then under the West End via Tottenham Court Road, Piccadilly Circus and Victoria towards Crystal Palace and Hounslow.

Both the Labour and Conservative parties made commitments in their manifestos for the 2010 election to deliver the railway, and the coalition government formed after the election also committed to the project.Crossrail is a 118-kilometre (73-mile) railway line under development in England, running through parts of London and the home counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex.The central section and a large portion of the line, between Paddington in central London and Abbey Wood in the south-east, are due to open in December 2018, when it will be named the Elizabeth line in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.The east–west scheme was for a line from Liverpool Street to Paddington/Marylebone with two connections at its western end linking the tunnel to the Great Western Main Line and the Metropolitan line on the Underground.The City route was shown as a new connection across the City of London linking the Great Northern Route with London Bridge.

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