Further delays see Summer 2021 launched scrapped


The board of Crossrail Ltd has admitted that the opening of the central section of the Elizabeth line between Paddington and Abbey Wood next summer, as announced earlier this year prior to Covid-19, is not achievable.

This section of the project should have been launched in December 2018, but the project has been the victim of repeated delays.

The pandemic has added to the challenge. Construction works were halted in March as the country went into lockdown and although it has been possible to resume works at a reduced rate, in line with social distancing guidance, the virus has delayed the project’s progress.

The board says further work is required on the detailed recovery plan which re-sequences the remaining work to complete the railway and fully assess the financial implications of Covid-19 on the programme.

They add that a more comprehensive update will be issued in due course and work continues to refine and validate the remaining work schedule and associated costs.

“Everyone working on the Crossrail project knows London needs the Elizabeth line more than ever and we are doing everything possible to deliver the railway as safely and as quickly as we canm” said Mark WIl, Crossrail Ltd’s chief executive.

“We have a comprehensive plan to complete the railway but existing schedule pressure along with COVID-19 has impacted the programme and time has been lost. Further work is being undertaken to finalise our detailed recovery plan which re-sequences the remaining work.

“We are striving to commence intensive operational testing for the Elizabeth line, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity. Our focus right now is on completing the remaining infrastructure works so that we can fully test the railway. Crossrail will undertake a period of intensive construction activity starting this August across the tunnels, portals and shafts to help recover lost time and complete the remaining construction works for Trial Running as we progress towards this next important phase.”

Earlier this week it emerged that costs have also been continuing to rise. Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris told MPs on Monday that the scheme would need another £140m to complete the surface sections between Paqddington and Reading and Stratford and Shenfield.

Heaton-Harris described the further increase as ‘very disappointing’.

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