A Hong Kong firm has won the £1.4 billion contract to run the cross-London Crossrail services, beating North East firms Go Ahead and Arriva.
MTR Corporation also beat the likes of National Express to win the concession, which will be for eight years with an option to extend to 10 years.
Announcing the deal, Transport for London (TfL) said MTR was expected to employ around 1,100 staff with up to 850 new roles, creating many hundreds of jobs for local people.
This will include some 400 drivers and more than 50 apprenticeships for people from communities along the route.
The £14.5 billion Crossrail project, a huge undertaking, will see trains running from as far west of the capital as Reading in Berkshire and as far east as Shenfield in Essex, with links to south London as well.
Due to fully open by the end of 2019, Crossrail will see the transformation of a number of overcrowded central London Tube stations and drastically improve cross-London journey times.
It is estimated that Crossrail will also support the equivalent of 55,000 full-time jobs around the UK. The construction of Crossrail will generate at least 75,000 business opportunities across the country with 97% of companies in Crossrail’s supply chain based in the UK.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is great news for passengers across the capital and marks a significant milestone in the project.
Crossrail will provide a better and faster service for millions of commuters and will help create up to 30,000 additional jobs in central London by 2026.”
He went on: “Crossrail is a part of our long-term economic plan and one of the many rail infrastructure projects benefitting from record levels of Government investment.
“Together with Thameslink, investment in rail in the North and a major electrification programme, we are creating jobs, boosting business and generating lasting economic growth across the UK.”
MTR will start running the services from the end of May 2015 between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, taking over the stopping services currently operated by Abellio Greater Anglia. They will be using the existing trains that currently operate on the route.
New trains will begin entering service with in 2017. The route through Canary Wharf, the City and the West End will open in late 2018, with the full route running from late 2019.