Crossrail set to face further delays as TfL report finds it could need further £2billion of funding

PUBLISHED: 14:09 10 December 2018

Crossrail's Whitechapel station construction in 2017, with questions now raised over 10-month delay in opening. Picture: Mike Brooke

Crossrail's Whitechapel station construction in 2017, with questions now raised over 10-month delay in opening. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Crossrail, London’s new east to west railway service, may be delayed even further and could require a £2billion funding boost, Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed.

There is a “huge amount still to do”, according to Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild.

TfL said “more work is required than had been envisaged” when a revised opening date of autumn 2019 was given in August this year.

An independent report by auditor KPMG found the impact of the delay announced in the summer “could be in the region of between £1.6 billion and £2 billion”.

Giving an update on the Crossrail project, Transport for London said in a statement today (Monday, December 10): “Crossrail Ltd announced in August that it expected the Elizabeth line to open through central London in autumn 2019, rather than December 2018.

“It has now become clear that more work is required than had been envisaged to complete the infrastructure and then commence the extensive testing necessary to ensure the railway opens safely and reliably.

“Today the new chief executive of Crossrail, Mark Wild, also confirmed that having reviewed the work still required to complete the project, an autumn 2019 opening date could no longer be committed to at this stage, and his team was working on a robust and deliverable schedule.”

The statement added: “The emerging findings of the KPMG review into Crossrail Ltd’s finances indicate the likely capital cost impact of the delay to the project announced in August could be in the region of between £1.6 billion and £2 billion.”

In late October, the government announced it was providing Crossrail with a £350m emergency loan to safeguard the project’s immediate future.

The project’s budget was increased from £14.8billion to £15.4bn in July due to “cost pressures”.

It is being predominantly funded by TfL and the government.

Trains were due to operate through the central tunnels from Paddington to Abbey Wood from December this year, when separate services on the Paddington-Heathrow and Liverpool Street-Shenfield routes would continue.

In May 2019, direct trains from Paddington to Shenfield were due to launch, with the line fully open from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east from December 2019.

Once the service eventually begins it will be known as the Elizabeth line.

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