Crossrail bosses say the troubled rail link is unlikely to open before 2022 and will need a further bailout of at least £450m.
Passenger services were originally due to open in December 2018 but delays meant this target was missed and a series of revised opening dates have each been pushed back.
In November 2019 bosses admitted services would not start in 2020 but insisted they would be up and running “as soon as practically possible in 2021”.
Last month the Crossrail board confirmed this date would also be missed and have today said that “based on the best available programme information right now,” services should finally start “in the first half of 2022”.
The delays continue to push up costs.
In 2018 minsters, City Hall and Transport for London agreed a series of bailouts, including a £1.4bn loan from central government to City Hall.
The November 2019 delay was accompanied by a warning that additional funding of “between £400 million to £650 million” would be needed to allow the project’s completion, and today Crossrail said it was likely to need at least “£450m more than the upper end” of that range.
In addition to increasing the project’s construction costs, the delayed opening is costing Transport for London hundreds of millions of pounds in much-needed fares and commercial income.
Even before the Covid shutdown, the agency’s finances were under severe pressure through a mixture of government cuts and the impact of the mayor’s four-year fares freeze.
Mark Wild, Crossrail Chief Executive, said: “Our focus remains on opening the Elizabeth line as soon as possible.
“Now more than ever Londoners are relying on the capacity and connectivity that the Elizabeth line will bring, and we are doing everything possible to deliver the railway as safely and quickly as we can.
“Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages and is being completed at a time of great uncertainty due to the risks and potential impacts of further Covid outbreaks.
“We are working tirelessly to complete the remaining infrastructure works so that we can fully test the railway and successfully transition the project as an operational railway to Transport for London.”