MPs on the Public Accounts Committee have hailed London’s £16bn Crossrail scheme as “a textbook example of how to get things right” and called on ministers to learn from its success.
When fully operational in 2018, Crossrail will link Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, and cut journey times into and within the capital.
The scheme is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and involves building a new railway through London and dozens of new stations to serve an estimated 200 million passengers each year.
Construction of the new track and stations is more than half-way through and the project is expected to be delivered within budget.
MPs say ministers should examine the reasons for the scheme’s success, especially the amount of pre-construction scoping and planning work carried out.
A report published by the committee on Wednesday says this and the expertise of the scheme’s management team allowed the project to proceed smoothly, “resulting in only a handful of subsequent changes being required.”
Ministers are being urged to apply lessons learned from Crossrail’s success to other transport projects, including High Speed 2, and also to non-transport initiatives.
Committee member Richard Bacon MP said: “Major, complex infrastructure projects are notoriously difficult to deliver on time and in budget.
“With Crossrail we see a textbook example of how to get things right. Happily, this means Crossrail – a £15.8bn programme in total – is on course to deliver value for money to the taxpayer.”
The report was welcomed by Mike Brown, Managing Director of London Underground and Rail, who said: “This is fantastic recognition from the Public Accounts Committee that London is leading the way for UK infrastructure.
“This demonstrates that we can successfully deliver more than one big project at a time, as Crossrail is being constructed at the same time as we modernise the Tube and make major improvements to London Overground and DLR capacity.
“We have just announced MTR as the operator for Crossrail, meaning that we are already moving towards turning what has been a successful construction project in to what will be an incredibly successful operational railway.”