Crossrail: Mayor of London apologises for delays as bosses reveal £18billion project won't need more cash
PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 December 2019
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has apologised to Londoners for the lengthy delays to the opening of Crossrail, as transport bosses revealed they do not believe the project will require any more additional funding.
At a meeting of the London Assembly's transport committee on Tuesday, December 17, attended by a number of Crossrail representatives, Mr Khan described the "additional delay and further costs overrun" racked up by the project as "very disappointing".
"I share the frustration of Londoners that the Elizabeth line is not yet open and I apologise for this, but progress is being made," he said.
"This is an extraordinarily complex project, the like of which has never been undertaken in the UK before.
"When complete, the Elizabeth line will completely transform transport across our city, and we mustn't forget what a fantastic addition to our transport network it will be.
"The point I have made to the Crossrail board is that they must knuckle down, continue making progress, and deliver the Elizabeth line as soon as possible for Londoners."
Crossrail chairman Tony Meggs insisted that those in charge have now identified all the work that remains to be done and is extremely confident that the Elizabeth line will open in full at some point in 2021 - stressing it was "still possible" that it could open in the first quarter of that year.
A more accurate opening window has been identified and presented to Crossrail chiefs, but this will not be made public until the board is satisfied that timetable can be achieved.
This is expected to be early next year.
Mr Meggs also revealed that the company is not expecting to ask for any more additional funds, adding: "We don't plan to revise this cost estimate again. We are not looking to ask for any more money."
In an annual update released by Crossrail on the same day as the committee meeting, the company accepted mistakes had been made but insisted good progress had been made on the project throughout 2019.
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Mark Wild, Crossrail's chief executive, said: "We know we have much to do to win back the trust of Londoners but all our focus is on ensuring we deliver a railway that is safe, reliable and exceptional.
"I hope it will give the reassurance needed that this railway is now firmly back on track and will open as soon as practically possible in 2021."
The company also confirmed that its "station enhancement works" at Ilford and Romford both began this year as scheduled, and are forecast for completion sometime between December next year and early 2021.
Crossrail also revealed that contracts have been awarded for the station information security systems at Harold Wood, Forest Gate, Goodmayes and Gidea Park stations.
All of these are currently anticipated for completion by the middle of next year.
All the tunnels along the route will be completed fitted out by the end of the January.
Full testing of the railway will commence at the earliest opportunity in 2020 with testing of the signalling and train software currently under way in the central section.
Network Rail is also delivering a key part of Crossrail and completed all infrastructure works which supported the commencement of TfL Rail services between Paddington and Reading on December 15.
Crossrail's budget was originally set at £15.9 billion in 2007 but complications in the construction and delivery of the project have seen that number rise to £18.25billion.
The railway was initially due to be completed in December 2018 but, again due to complications, the opening date was pushed back several times.
On November 8, Crossrail bosses announced that, due to the amount of testing still required along the route, it would not be opening in 2020.
The company remains committed to opening "as soon as practically possible" in 2021.
Once open, Crossrail will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.