Crossrail’s opening of the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood next summer is “not achievable”
According to Crossrail, the programme of this scale and complexity was already challenging, but the impact of Covid-19 has made the existing pressures more difficult.
Due to a pause of physical activity on sites and significant constraints on ongoing work – Crossrail’s time has been lost, only some of which can be recovered.
Further work is required on the detailed recovery plan which re-sequences the remaining work to complete the railway and fully assesses the financial implications of Covid-19 on the programme.
Much of the remaining work involves hooking up, integrating and testing the completed infrastructure and railway systems along with the finalisation of the extensive safety case to the Office of Rail and Road who will give the go-ahead to commence Trial Running.
Construction works were halted in March as the country went into lockdown and although it has been possible to resume works at a reduced rate, in line with social distancing guidance, the virus has delayed the project’s progress.
Faced with these challenges, Crossrail has responded by re-sequencing works and undertaking a construction blockade across the tunnels, portals and shafts starting in August to help recover lost time and complete the outstanding tasks for Trial Running as quickly as possible.
Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, good progress continues to be made with completing the remaining construction works, with much of this work coming to an end along with software testing for the signalling and train systems. The focus is completing the outstanding works across the tunnels, shafts and portals so that intensive operational testing can begin and the Elizabeth line can be delivered at the earliest opportunity.
A recovery plan
Mark Wild, chief executive of Crossrail Ltd, said: “Everyone working on the Crossrail project knows London needs the Elizabeth line more than ever and we are doing everything possible to deliver the railway as safely and as quickly as we can.
“We have a comprehensive plan to complete the railway but existing schedule pressure along with Covid-19 has impacted the programme and time has been lost. Further work is being undertaken to finalise our detailed recovery plan which re-sequences the remaining work.
“We are striving to commence intensive operational testing for the Elizabeth line, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity. Our focus right now is on completing the remaining infrastructure works so that we can fully test the railway.
“Crossrail will undertake a period of intensive construction activity starting this August across the tunnels, portals and shafts to help recover lost time and complete the remaining construction works for Trial Running as we progress towards this next important phase.”
Crossrail said a more comprehensive update would be issued in due course, as work continues to refine and validate the remaining work schedule and associated costs.000