The Elizabeth line (AKA Crossrail) will not open until at least 2021, says a new progress report.
The central section of the new east-west line was set to open in December 2018, but the project has hit delays and cost overruns.
A revised window was announced in April — the central section would likely open between October 2020 and March 2021. That window has now been partially shuttered, with late 2020 ruled out. Mark Wild, Chief Executive of Crossrail Ltd., now expects the line to be running "...as soon as practically possible in 2021."
The reasons for the ongoing delay are many. Bond Street and Whitechapel stations remain incomplete following a series of logistical problems. Software issues (for signalling and train systems) and line testing have also held things up. London Reconnections recently published an excellent, in-depth essay if you'd like to learn more.
The project will also eat up more cash. "Our detailed cost forecasts continue to show that the project’s costs will increase due to programme risks and uncertainties," says Wild. "The latest projections indicate a range of between £400 million to £650 million more than the revised funding agreed by the Mayor, Government and Transport for London in December 2018."
While the core section — passing through places like Paddington, Bond Street and Liverpool Street — is the most high-profile part of the Elizabeth line, it is not the only component. The western arm, from Paddington to Reading, should start operating in December 2019 under the guise of TfL Rail.