Crossrail Central Section Will Not Open in 2020

Following the October publication of its ‘realistic and achievable’ completion plan, which gave an opening window of the central Crossrail section from October 2020 to March 2021, Crossrail Ltd Chief Executive Mark Wild now says “the Elizabeth Line will open as soon as practically possible in 2021”.

Crossrail Ltd has presented its progress report to the Crossrail Board and to Transport for London.

Crossrail Custom House station
A Crossrail Class 345 Bombardier Aventra EMU at Custom House station

Work on Custom House, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations will be complete by the end of 2019. Furthermore, the fit-out of the tunnels should be complete by the end of January 2020. Crossrail Ltd also estimates that the central section will be “substantially complete” by the end of March 2020 with the exceptions of Bond Street and Whitechapel stations.

Mark Wild, CEO, Crossrail Ltd, said:

“The two critical paths for the project remain software development for the signalling and train systems, and the complex assurance and handover process for the railway; both involve safety certification for the Elizabeth line. These must be done to the highest quality standards to ensure reliability of the railway from day one of passenger service.

“Crossrail Ltd will need further time to complete software development for the signalling and train systems and the safety approvals process for the railway. The Trial Running phase will begin at the earliest opportunity in 2020, this will be followed by testing of the operational railway to ensure it is safe and reliable.”

Crossrail Cost Increase

In addition to further delays there are also more cost increases. The latest data suggests an increase of 400–650 million GBP more than the revised funding agreed by Mayor Sadiq Khan, the British government and Transport for London in December 2018.

Transport for London issued the following statement to the London Stock Exchange:

“The latest projections now show a central cost forecast (including risk contingency) of approximately 15,363m GBP, which is 400m GBP more than the funding committed under the Financing Package. Further modelling scenarios consider even higher levels of risk of 650m GBP more than the funding committed under the Financing Package.

“TfL has agreed with the Department for Transport (DfT) that the Financing Package will remain in place. TfL and DfT are in discussion regarding how funding of these additional costs will be resolved.”

Crossrail Ltd says it is working on completing the line as quickly as possible. However it won’t take short-cuts in order to ensure the highest safety and quality standards.

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