Crossrail may not run in its entirety until December 2022, TfL has confirmed.
In a London Assembly Budget & Performance Committee meeting on 6 January, TfL Commissioner Mike Brown explained that Crossrail's eastern branch (from Shenfield) isn't expected to connect to the central Crossrail section until May 2022. The western branch of Crossrail (running from Reading/Heathrow) isn't expected to link up to the central tunnels until December 2022.
The disappointing news was tweeted by Lib Dem London Assembly member Carline Pidgeon:
TfL confirm in answer to my questions they are assuming in their budget/business plan that the Crossrail central section opens autumn 2021. Then Eastern branch connects May 2022 and the Western branch December 2022. Some delay!— Caroline Pidgeon 🔶 (@CarolinePidgeon) January 6, 2020
The latest projections put Crossrail's completion date even later than those we were given at the end of 2019. Though the western and eastern branches of Crossrail are already effectively running as TfL Rail, the central section of Crossrail won't be open until some time in 2021. But even then, it now appears that linking all the sections together will take more time than previously anticipated.
Crossrail was intended to be fully up and running by the end 2019, but has been blighted by technical issues, prompting delays and potentially pushing the ambitious scheme over budget by £2bn.
A TfL spokesperson told Londonist:
As part of our annual business planning process, we have made some prudent assumptions including that the central section of the railway could open in autumn 2021, but continue to support Crossrail Ltd in delivering the railway as soon as possible. Crossrail Ltd continue to refine their delivery schedule and will provide an update in the coming weeks.
When everything is finally linked up, we can call Crossrail by its official name, the Elizabeth line.