Crossrail bosses deny leadership rift despite chief’s exit

MANAGERS of Britain’s biggest ever rail project have stated it is still on track despite the resignation of its chief executive.

Rob Holden confirmed last month he would be stepping down from his post after two years at the helm of the �16 billion Crossrail scheme.

He will leave this summer after a six-month notice period, with advertising starting later this month for his successor.

There have been plenty of reasons suggested for Mr Holden’s surprise decision, but he has vehemently denied there has been a breakdown in relations with Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan.

“I wish people would stop listening to rumours and drawing on speculation,” Mr Holden told the London Assembly. “What evidence has anybody got that we have not worked together to get the project to where it is?

“I’m very frustrated that those sorts of issues are being raised. The project is not about me. Changes have to be made including the skills set of the chief executive and those need to be different to those I have.”

The train line from Maidenhead in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east is progressing well, with building work at stations like Canary Wharf well advanced already.

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Mr Morgan said major obstacles had been overcome in the last year, including confirming Government funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review.

He added physical progress will not be seen until 2014. The central section from Paddington to Whitechapel and Custom House should be in use by the third quarter of 2018, with outer stations phased in over six months.

Mr Morgan said talks are ongoing to try to include Woolwich on the Crossrail line.

Doubts have surfaced over funding in recent weeks, with developer Berkeley Homes supposed to have moved onto the proposed site this month.

Mr Morgan said: “The last days have been very productive in terms of addressing the issues and I’m as confident as anybody can be that the Woolwich Station issue will be brought to a successful conclusion within the next week.”