Talks aimed at pursuading BAA, the airport operator, to put up an estimated £250m towards the new rail link between Heathrow and the City are in their 'final stages', according to sources close to the negotiations.

The news emerged as ministers were yesterday forced to deny claims that Crossrail’s funding was in doubt, insisting the scheme was proceeding to the planned timetable.

The government is under pressure to finalise a deal with BAA to contribute towards the £16bn project. Agreement was reached in principle last October but now, nearly a year later, the Spanish-owned airport group is still in talks with officials.

Financial Times