The UK Transport for London (TfL) has awarded a £1.4bn contract to MTR Corporation (MTR) to serve as a key partner in delivering the new Crossrail services.

The eight-year contract has an option to extend a further ten years and is expected to create 1,100 jobs.

MTR will operate services from 31 May 2015 between Liverpool Street and Shenfield which were earlier operated by Abellio Greater Anglia.

Initially, services to Shenfield will be operated with the current rolling stock, which will be gradually replaced by the new Crossrail trains in 2017.

London Underground and London Rail managing director Mike Brown said: "The appointment of MTR brings Crossrail services another step forward.

"We will be looking to MTR to operate reliable and efficient Crossrail train services from day one."

"They will be operating London’s newest rail line, which will help cut journey times, make it easier for people travelling across the city and create jobs and support growth and regeneration along the route. We will be looking to MTR to operate reliable and efficient Crossrail train services from day one."

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By GlobalData

The 118km-long Crossrail route will serve 40 stations and run from Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west, through new twin-bore tunnels below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

MTR CEO Jay Walder said: "We are committed to bringing the very best of MTR to Crossrail, and are working hand-in-hand with TfL to establish a new standard of operational reliability and customer experience for railways in Europe.

"The award of this contract also shows how Hong Kong’s expertise and capabilities can contribute to the growth and development of world cities."

Once fully operational in 2019, Crossrail will boost rail capacity in London.

Image: TfL has recently appointed Barber & Osgerby to work on design of Crossrail train. Photo: courtesy of Crossrail.