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Time Tunnel

With Neil Andrews

Crossrail will not open until at least 2021

The line has been subject to a series of delays

The opening of Crossrail has been delayed again and will run even further over budget according to the man leading the project.

The Elizabeth Line, which will run between Shenfield and Reading, was originally due to open December 2018 but a series of issues have pushed that back several times.

Crossrail’s chief executive, Mark Wild, has now said it will open “as soon as practically possible in 2021.” 

He expects to be able to provide a further update early next year.

And, while Mr. Wild says good progress has been made over recent months, costs have continued to spiral.

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

That means total spending on Crossrail will exceed £18 billion.

Train services are currently running between Shenfield and Liverpool Street, and also between Paddington and Reading.

But the section through central London is still yet to be completed.

Mr. Wild said: “A key focus during 2019 has been finalising the stations, tunnels, portals, and shafts. 

“The two critical paths for the project remain software development for the signalling and train systems, and the complex assurance and handover process for the railway; both involve safety certification for the Elizabeth Line.

“These must be done to the highest quality standards to ensure reliability of the railway from day one of passenger service.

“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.”

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