Crossrail now looks likely to be further delayed until 2020 after project bosses concluded they could no longer meet their previously announced Autumn 2019 target.
Passenger services were originally due to start this month but in August City Hall, Transport for London and Crossrail Limited – the special purpose company set up by TfL and the Department for Transport to build the railway – said the opening would be delayed.
Now Mark Wild, who previously sat on the Crossrail board in his capacity as head of TfL’s rail and Tube division and who was recently appointed CEO of Crossrail, has questioned his own team’s ability to deliver on even the original delayed opening date.
Wild said he had been “reviewing the work still required to complete the core stations and rail infrastructure and begin the critical safety testing,” since taking up the CEO role and has concluded he “cannot at this stage commit to an autumn 2019 opening date.”
He added: “My team and I are working to establish a robust and deliverable schedule in order to give Londoners a credible plan to open the railway and provide a safe and reliable service. Once that work is completed we will then be in a position to confirm a new opening date.”
Wild’s admission of further delays came as it was announced that Crossrail would need at least an additional £1.4bn in emergency funding to allow work to continue. This will be provided by Government as a loan to City Hall.
Today’s loan follows a previous bailout of £590m followed by an interim loan of £350m in October.
Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner said the extra money will allow Crossrail “to focus on finishing the remaining construction work on the stations and tunnels and then completing the vital safety testing in order to open the railway for passengers as quickly as possible.”
Later this month London Assembly members will quiz Mayor Sadiq Khan on when he was first told of the original delay. AMs have used their reserve power to order the Mayor to release confidential Crossrail papers ahead of the meeting.
Today TfL released over 100 documents “relating to Crossrail including Board minutes dating back to 2013″. City Hall says the release goes further than the Assembly’s request.
In a statement Mr Khan said he had “ordered the release of all Crossrail Board minutes in the last five years to provide transparency to Londoners on their decision making.”