Crossrail faces further delays on Elizabeth line opening

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elizabeth line, Financing Package, Crossrail

Crossrail Limited (CRL) has advised TfL that there will be some projected delays in the opening of the Elizabeth line and it is likely that additional funding will be required to cover the higher levels of risk contingency

On 10 December 2018, TfL announced a ‘Financing Package’ provided by the Department for Transport (DfT), the Greater London Authority and TfL to support the final stages of the project and open the Elizabeth line to passengers.

On 18 September 2019, TfL announced a range of issues in CRL’s cost forecasts, reflecting project uncertainties. The latest projections now show a central cost forecast of approximately £15,363m, which is £400m more than the funding first predicted under the Financing Package.

Further modelling scenarios consider £650m more funding is needed than committed under the Financing Package.

TfL has agreed with the DfT that the Financing Package will remain in place, but they are discussing how the funding of these additional costs will be resolved.

TfL has been advised by CRL that the Elizabeth line will open as soon as practically possible in 2021. A more comprehensive update is expected early in 2020. In the meantime, any potential financial impacts to TfL’s passenger revenues will be considered in TfL’s 2019 update to its Business Plan.

Mark Wild, chief executive of Crossrail, said: “The Crossrail project has made good progress over recent months as the new plan to complete the Elizabeth line is implemented by the supply chain.

“By the end of the year, Custom House, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations will be complete and the project is on track to finish fit-out of the tunnels in January. The central section will be substantially complete by the end of the first quarter in 2020, except for Bond Street and Whitechapel stations where work will continue.

“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.

“We are doing everything we can to complete the Elizabeth line as quickly as we can but there are no short-cuts to delivering this hugely complex railway. The Elizabeth line must be completed to the highest safety and quality standards.”

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