In a meeting with Transport for London earlier today, Crossrail confirmed that it remains on track to open the Elizabeth line within the October 2020 to March 2021 window previously identified, but warned that there is still uncertainty about the opening date.
While the project remains within the agreed delivery window, Crossrail has warned there is still a high level of uncertainty remaining in the project, and some of the cost forecasts could see additional spending needed, or the opening date pushed back.
At the TfL Board meeting today it was noted that Crossrail is now delivering against a new detailed delivery schedule that has been agreed by its Board, with significant recent milestones achieved including the handover of major assets to TfL such as Mile End Shaft and Victoria Dock Portal; and the removal of construction hoardings at Farringdon station.
Significant work is still needed though before the Elizabeth line can open to passengers.
To reflect the ongoing uncertainty about the opening date, Crossrail’s cost forecasts now contain additional risk contingencies.
In a statement, Crossrail said that current projections show a central cost forecast (including risk contingency) of £15,005m, which is £42m more than the funding committed under the December 2018 financing package. Additional possible scenarios also include a significantly higher level of risk contingency, up to £394 million more than the committed funding, and opening later in 2021, if the potential problems cannot be mitigated away. Crossrail says that it has further work to do to fully develop its cost forecasts and risk mitigation actions including quantifying the potential savings that could arise from their implementation.
At the moment though, no additional funding has been requested.
TfL is working with the Department for Transport, as joint sponsors, and the GLA to conduct contingency planning for the event that the identified risks are not mitigated sufficiently and additional funding in excess of the Financing Package is required.
Any potential material financial impact will be reported in TfL’s Business Plan update, which is due to be published later this autumn.