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One of the two eastern sections runs underground from Whitechapel to Stratford, then on the surface on the existing main line.The service will replace the "Shenfield metro", with key stops at Ilford, Romford (for interchange with London Overground services to Upminster), Gidea Park (where some peak hour trains will start or terminate), and Shenfield.Although the idea was seen as imaginative, only a brief estimate of cost was given: £300 million.A feasibility study was recommended as a high priority so that the practicability and costs of the scheme could be determined.The other eastern branch runs underground from Whitechapel to Canary Wharf and Abbey Wood.It takes over the Custom House to Woolwich via Connaught tunnel stretch of the former North London Line built by the Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway, and connects it with the North Kent Line via a tunnel under the Thames at North Woolwich.
In the west the route connects with the Great Western Main Line at Paddington and runs to Hayes and Harlington, where it splits.
and joins the main route at Airport Junction, between West Drayton and Hayes and Harlington.
Construction of a flyover near Hayes & Harlington station began in 2014, and will allow Heathrow Express trains to pass over the track used by Crossrail, avoiding delays caused by crossings.
The cost of the east–west scheme including rolling stock was estimated at £885 million. A more ambitious proposal named "Superlink" was proposed in 2004, at an estimated cost of £13 billion, including additional infrastructure work outside London: in addition to Crossrail's east– west tunnel, lines would connect towns including Cambridge, Ipswich, Southend-on-Sea, Pitsea, Reading, Basingstoke and Northampton.
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.