Crossrail has advised TfL that there are some projected delays in the opening of the Elizabeth line and it is likely that additional funding would be required, and that the opening date is being pushed back.

The latest projections now show a central cost forecast (including risk contingency) of approximately £15,363m, which is £400 million more than the funding committed under the exisiting Financing Package.

Further modelling scenarios are also warning of the risk of even higher levels of risk of £650 million more than the funding committed under the Financing Package.

TfL has agreed with the Department for Transport (DfT) that the Financing Package will remain in place. Crossrail said that TfL and DfT are in discussion regarding how funding of these additional costs will be resolved.

The Elizabeth line had been projected to open between Oct 2020 and March 2021, but Crossrail is now saying that the opening of the central section will not occur in 2020. A more comprehensive update is expected early next year, but there’s no chance of the line opening until 2021.

Mark Wild, Chief Executive, Crossrail said: “A key focus during 2019 has been finalising the stations, tunnels, portals and shafts. By the end of the year, Custom House, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations will be complete and the project is on track to finish fit-out of the tunnels in January. The central section will be substantially complete by the end of the first quarter in 2020, except for Bond Street and Whitechapel stations where work will continue.”

He added that “Crossrail will need further time to complete software development for the signalling and train systems and the safety approvals process for the railway. The Trial Running phase will begin at the earliest opportunity in 2020, this will be followed by testing of the operational railway to ensure it is safe and reliable.”

In the meantime, any potential financial impacts to TfL’s passenger revenues will be considered in TfL’s 2019 update to its Business Plan. TfL says that it continues to keep the Mayor of London and TfL Board regularly updated.

There are four major tasks that must be completed to enable the Elizabeth line to open:

  • Build and test the software to integrate the train operating system with three different signalling systems
  • Install and test vital station systems
  • Complete installation of the equipment in the tunnels and test communications systems
  • And when this is done, trial run the trains over many thousands of miles on the completed railway to shake out any problems and ensure the safety and reliability when passenger service begins
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