Crossrail will be delayed until at least October 2020 and may not open until March 2021, the project’s board has been told.
City Hall and Transport for London have sought to blame the former leadership of Crossrail Limited, the company set up by TfL and the Department for Transport to oversee the project’s construction.
However earlier this week the London Assembly called on TfL Commissioner Mike Brown to consider his position after finding that he repeatedly played down warnings from the previous project management in his weekly reports to Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Brown reiterated his refusal to step down when appearing before Assembly Members on Thursday.
Crossrail Chief Executive Mark Wild, previously TfL’s head of rail and Tube services and the agency’s representative on the project board, today unveiled a plan he claimed would “put the project back on track.”
In a statement the company said it plans to open the central section of the route first, with full services from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east then commencing “as soon as possible.”
However under Wild’s plan the new station at Bond Street will not open along with the rest of the central section, with Crossrail blaming “design and delivery challenges” for the station’s delay.
Wild said: “Crossrail is an immensely complex project and there will be challenges ahead particularly with the testing of the train and signalling systems but the Elizabeth line is going to be incredible for London and really will be worth the wait.
“This new plan will get us there and allow this fantastic new railway to open around the end of next year.”
In a separate statement, Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I was deeply angry and frustrated when we found out about the delay to Crossrail last year. The information we had been given by the former Chair was clearly wrong.
“We now have a new Crossrail leadership team who have worked hard over recent months to establish a realistic and deliverable schedule for the opening of the project, which TfL and the Department for Transport will now review.
“Crossrail is a hugely complex project. With strengthened governance and scrutiny in place, TfL and the Department for Transport, as joint sponsors, will continue to hold the new leadership to account to ensure it is doing everything it can to open Crossrail safely and as soon as possible.
“When complete, the Elizabeth Line will transform travel across London and the South East, with new state-of-the-art trains taking millions of people more quickly across London, supporting hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs.”