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Crossrail delays lengthen again as costs rise

THE continuing delays to Crossrail are set to cost Transport for London more than £1.3 billion, and the central section under the West End and City is not how expected to open before the autumn of 2021.

The admissions came as the outgoing transport commissioner Mike Brown disclosed that the total budget has now risen to £18.25 billion, compared with the original ‘funding envelope’ of £14.8 billion.

The central section had been due to open in December 2018, but the royal ceremony was cancelled after it became clear that the line and its stations would not be ready.

Other parts of Crossrail in the London suburbs have been moving ahead according to the original timetable, and trains temporarily branded ‘TfL Rail’ took over most of the GWR local services between Paddington and Reading last month.

Mike Brown said: ‘We’ve looked at a delay until the later stages of 2021, in terms of our business planning assumption. The assumption we’ve made is, I suppose, at the pessimistic end. But it’s the pragmatic end.’

The latest update from the commissioner came when he was advising the London Assembly budget committee yesterday.

TfL said: ‘The Crossrail team continues to make progress completing the railway and is moving forward with the complex testing of the signalling and train systems so that the railway can be handed over safely and reliably for passenger service. As Crossrail Ltd previously announced, the Elizabeth Line will open as soon as practically possible in 2021.

‘As part of our annual business planning process, we have made some prudent assumptions including that the central section of the railway could open in autumn 2021, but continue to support Crossrail Ltd in delivering the railway as soon as possible.’

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