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Things are going from bad to worse for Crossrail.
A joint announcement today (Monday 10 December) — from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the Greater London Authority (GLA), and Transport for London (TfL) — suggests that the revised opening date of autumn 2019 will not be met.
The new Chief Executive of Crossrail, Mark Wild, admits that, having reviewed the work still required to complete the project, an autumn 2019 opening date "could no longer be committed to at this stage."
Says a TfL spokesperson:
It has now become clear that more work is required than had been envisaged to complete the infrastructure and then commence the extensive testing necessary to ensure the railway opens safely and reliably.
The central section of the Crossrail was due to be opened by the Queen, as the Elizabeth line, on Sunday 9 December. However, as rumours swirled about funding issues and delays, the news broke in September that Crossrail wouldn't open until autumn 2019.
This new projected 'delay to the delay' has caused red faces in high-up positions. The former Chair of Crossrail Ltd, Sir Terry Morgan, resigned on 5 December. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, meanwhile, says:
I haven't hidden my anger and frustration about the Crossrail project being delayed. This has a knock-on consequence of significant additional cost to the project. It has been increasingly clear that the previous Crossrail Ltd leadership painted a far too optimistic picture of the project's status.
An independent review has indicated that the likely cost of the delay to the project announced in August could be in the region of between £1.6bn and £2bn. However, a financing package has now been agreed with the government, in a bid to "open the Elizabeth line to passengers as quickly as possible." Not quickly enough for next autumn, though, it would appear.
New Crossrail trains procured by TfL are already in operation between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, and Paddington and Hayes & Harlington.