Road & Rail

London’s Crossrail project faces further delays, as costs increase

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

The opening of a monumental railway project that would connect many of London’s landmarks has been pushed back.

London’s Crossrail project, which will eventually become the Elizabeth Line, will be delayed until 2021, allowing more time to complete software development and allow safety systems to be tested.

The railway project, which is expected to ease congestion and improve rail capacity across London, will connect London’s Heathrow Airport and other landmarks across 42 kilometres of new tunnels, but is also expected to possibly go £650 million ($1.2 billion) over budget.

Crossrail Ltd., the company set up to build the new railway and a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL) said the line will open “as soon as practically possible”.

“Our latest assessment is that the opening of the central section will not occur in 2020, which was the first part of our previously declared opening window. The Elizabeth line will open as soon as practically possible in 2021. We will provide Londoners with further certainty about when the Elizabeth line will open early in 2020,” Crossrail spokesman Peter Maclennan said in an online update.

“Our detailed cost forecasts continue to show that the project’s costs will increase due to programme risks and uncertainties. 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.

“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.”

The delay in opening comes after the route was initially pushed back from an original opening in 2018.

According to data produced by Statista, more than 1 billion people (without season tickets) journeyed on the London Underground in 2018/19, nearly 40 million more than the previous year.

Featured image: “Elizabeth line train makes successful maiden voyage across south east London” by Daniel Garrity/Crossrail Ltd.

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