The Crossrail project is likely to be delayed by as much as three-years from its original opening date, Transport for London’s commissioner Mike Brown has confirmed.
Addressing the London Assembly’s budget and performance committee, he said that the delayed and overbudget project is now expected to open somewhere in Autumn 2021. He told the committee that TfL is “waiting for the Crossrail board to give an assessment of the opening date”, but that their own business case is now looking at a “delay to the later stages of 2021”
The most recent estimate had been early 2021, so we’re looking at another 6-month delay.
If the delay slips into December, then what will presumably still be the Elizabeth line will be opening fully three years later than it’s initial opening date of December 2018.
TfL’s Mike Brown cited issues such as delays in fitting out fire suppression systems, digital system integration, station completions, and the complexity of the signalling system being used in the tunnels. While the core line will now — maybe — open by the end of 2021, the connection to Heathrow wont be possible, forcing Crossrail passengers to swap trains at Paddington.
He added that he is “as confident as I can be” that there wont be any more money needed to complete the project, unless there is an unexpected safety issue that causes further delays.
The delay also means no income from the Elizabeth line for another six months, which will have an impact on TfL’s already stretched finances.
TfL’s Mike Brown also confirmed that the threat of a compensation claim from Canary Wharf Group has been removed following a confidential agreement.
Canary Wharf Group could have claimed compensation from Crossrail if the link to Heathrow is not open by the end of 2021, as it paid some £500 million towards Crossrail, most in kind through building the railway station at Canary Wharf.
The announcement is however just TfL’s own business case. Crossrail’s own board holds its meeting on Thursday, and more details about the opening date might be offered then.
The full committee meeting is recorded, and can be watched online – skip ahead to 30 minutes in.