By Daniel Hunter

Woolwich Crossrail station will open when Crossrail services commence in 2018 alongside the rest of the central section of the route.

Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT), sponsors of Crossrail, have confirmed that Crossrail services will call at Woolwich following the conclusion of a funding agreement for the completion of the station.

The sponsors have given Crossrail Limited the go ahead to begin the procurement process for the station fit out which will mean the station can open, alongside the rest of the central section of the Crossrail route, in December 2018. The new station at Woolwich will support the regeneration of this part of London improving connectivity and access to job opportunities.

Work on the station box was completed by Berkeley Homes 4 months ahead of schedule in March this year when it was handed over to Crossrail Limited. A deal has now been reached to fund the remaining works required to fit out the station with contributions totalling £54 million being provided by Berkeley Homes, the Royal Borough of Greenwich (via a GLA grant and local developer contributions), and TfL. Any further funds required to make the station fully operational will be provided by Crossrail Limited from its existing budget.

A Crossrail station at Woolwich was not within the original scope of the project. However, during the passage of the Crossrail Bill, an agreement was reached for Berkeley Homes to construct the station box. This agreement was confirmed in February 2011. Since then TfL and DfT have been in discussions with Berkeley Homes and the Royal Borough of Greenwich to develop an additional funding package for the fit out of the station so that it is ready for trains to serve the station when they start operating at the end of 2018.

The new station will improve transport connectivity, providing a direct route to Canary Wharf, central London and beyond. It will support sustainable economic development and population growth by increasing capacity and reducing congestion on the transport network.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "I am thrilled that this deal has been signed and that local people can look forward to being able to take advantage of a world class twelve train an hour service, which will provide rapid links directly to Canary Wharf, the City and West End. It is a massive win for Woolwich and offers enormous potential for local regeneration."

Crossrail Minister Stephen Hammond MP said: "This is great news for the people of Woolwich and the Royal Borough of Greenwich. A Crossrail station will provide significant opportunities for regeneration in the area, supporting jobs and growth and dramatically improving connectivity for people travelling between Woolwich and Canary Wharf, the City and the West End."

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