The Budget 2016: Full steam ahead as Crossrail 2 project gets green light
A Co Down steel firm engaged to work on the Crossrail project in London has welcomed the Chancellor's announcement of the project's second phase.
Environmental Fabrications in Dromore has been working on steel structures in tunnels for the project - a new rail link between east and west London.
Managing director Joe Donaldson said around 40% of the firm's workload was now on Crossrail and added he was "delighted" that more opportunities could come through Crossrail 2.
The company's work with Crossrail was worth more than £1m for the business, which employs 38 people, Mr Donaldson indicated. "We are currently working across three live Crossrail sites with various tier one main contractors," the managing director said.
"We are carrying out design, manufacture and installation of service access metal on shafts with depths up to 38m."
"As you can imagine, London has its logistical hurdles and drawbacks and as such we have established a team exclusively for this time of work in the vicinity.
"We are delighted to hear the Chancellor will be investing heavily in infrastructure work.
"We see this as a great opportunity for both Environmental Fabrications and our staff."
Currently, the firm is fitting out staircases and balustrades within Crossrail tunnels.
In future, Mr Donaldson said they would like to work on the Crossrail stations.
"It's all about looking at the opportunity and matching that opportunity with our capacity and ability as a business," he added.
"It's certainly easier to do business with existing customers than go out and identify new customers."
Work in Great Britain accounted for 90% of the firm's overall workload, Mr Donaldson said. "That's where we see that the market is, and that's our strategy."
During his Budget speech, Mr Osborne told the House of Commons: "The Government that is delivering Crossrail 1 will now commission Crossrail 2."
The City of London Corporation welcomed the Crossrail 2 announcement and other infrastructure commitments.
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) last week said Crossrail 2 should be made a priority.
The NIC added that funding should be released to enable the rail link - which would run from north to south across the capital - to open in 2033.
The scheme would complement the £14.8bn east-to-west Crossrail route, which is due to open in phases from next year.
Crossrail 2 has an estimated cost of £27bn-£32bn, based on 2014 prices. The first phase was expected to create at least 75,000 business opportunities around the UK and support the equivalent of 55,000 full-time jobs.