TfL has taken direct control of the Crossrail project away from the arms-length approach that had been in place during the construction of the railway.
It’s always been expected that TfL would take direct control of Crossrail at some point as it moves from the construction to operational phase, and the Crossrail project is now moving towards trial running of the trains early next year to build up the millage to gain safety certification for the line to open.
Some elements of the infrastructure have already been handed to TfL for staff familiarisation, but the main project remained as a stand-alone organisation.
Going forward, high-level oversight will be provided by a Special Purpose Committee of the TfL Board, to be known as the Elizabeth Line Committee. The Committee will meet in public every eight weeks.
This Committee will include members of the TfL Board and a special representative from the DfT as a joint sponsor of the project, and given its national significance. An Elizabeth Line Delivery Group comprised of senior members of TfL, London Underground and CRL, under the Chairmanship of Transport Commissioner Andy Byford will oversee the delivery of the project.
TfL also remains in discussions with DfT about the funding of the additional costs to complete the railway.
In related news, in a meeting with the All-Party Parliamentary Group last month, Crossrail’s Deputy Chairman, Nick Raynsford indicated that the current “first half of 2022” opening date for the Elizabeth line could be brought forward. Without specifics, he suggested that if the trial running of the trains goes well, and there isn’t a major lockdown due to a second wave of Covid, then the line “could open earlier”.
A Crossrail spokesperson confirmed: “We have a comprehensive plan to complete the railway and we are striving to commence intensive operational testing for the Elizabeth line, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity.”
“As work to complete the railway progresses, there may be opportunity to review and bring forward the opening of the central section, subject to progress during the intensive operational testing phase.”