ES: "Crossrail has no chance of opening in 2019"
Crossrail latest: Transport boss reveals new line has no chance of
opening this year and he has no idea when it will be
Transport chiefs have revealed the crisis-hit Crossrail line has no
chance of opening this year — and they have no idea when it will.
The project’s new chief executive told Mayor Sadiq Khan he faced a
“huge” task and hopes of the £17.6 billion line being ready this
autumn were non-existent.
“I can’t see how this job can be delivered in calendar year 2019,”
Mark Wild said. “I don’t actually know when it will be delivered after
It came as one figure close to the project warned it could be “two or
three years” before services are running fully through the central
section between Abbey Wood and Paddington.
Crossrail had been due to be opened by the Queen on December 9 last
year. But the date was abandoned last August when major problems with
signalling and incomplete stations were made public — and a
provisional new date of this autumn was announced.
The Transport for London board was told yesterday that the autumn
opening was no longer feasible and the full scale of the problems
remained unknown. The new Crossrail chairman Tony Meggs added: “We
still don’t have absolute clarity with exactly where we are. We still
don’t know what we need to know.”
Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat leading a London Assembly
investigation into Crossrail, said today: “This candid admission of
just how seriously Crossrail will be delayed raises even further
issues as to how the line was held for so long that it would open in
Mr Wild said an “orange army” of 6,000 to 7,000 contractors was
costing £30 million a week and morale had dropped “off the cliff”.
Costs have soared £2.8 billion over the £14.8 billion budget, with
London firms having to pay more in business rates and TfL losing £600
million in fares.
Mr Wild said there had been a “massive step forward” when the first
train entered the central tunnels to start testing on January 14.
But there were “many, many weeks” of trials to come, and it will take
until the summer before trains can be fully tested. He said he was
“less certain” how long it would take to complete the nine “huge” new
stations, with Paddington, Whitechapel and Tottenham Court Road among
those with the biggest problems.
The stations were unlikely to be finished before the end of summer.
Mr Wild said: “There are 60,000 individual items on Crossrail that
need controlling and integrating. The task is huge. I still don’t have
an opening date for you.”