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Crossrail Ltd confirm Elizabeth line won't open until 2021
Image courtesy of Crossrail Ltd

Crossrail Ltd confirm Elizabeth line won’t open until 2021

Crossrail Ltd has confirmed to the Crossrail Board that the Elizabeth line won’t open until 2021.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Transport for London (TfL) said that Crossrail Ltd has advised that there are projected delays and additional funding will likely be required “to cover the higher levels of risk contingency.”

The latest projections show that the central cost forecast, which includes risk contingency, will cost approximately £15.4 billion – £400 million more than funding committed under the Financing Package.

TfL also advised the London Stock Exchange that “further modelling scenarios” that consider even higher levels of risk could result in the need for an extra £650 million of investment.

Crossrail Ltd has confirmed to TfL that, after the latest assessment, the opening of the central section won’t happen next year and instead, the Elizabeth line “will open as soon as practically possible in 2021.”

The Elizabeth line is the biggest infrastructure problem in Britain for years, but it has been besieged by problems and delays; the latest setback has been caused because of the need for more time to develop signalling software and obtain safety approvals for the railway.

Originally set to open in December 2018, there have been several delays to the project; there was initial hope that the Elizabeth line would open this autumn, but a business plan earlier this year instead identified a delivery window of six months, with a midpoint at the end of 2020.

But it is now confirmed next year’s target is unworkable.

Crossrail Ltd’s Chief Executive, Mark Wild, said good progress has been made, but said delays are necessary so that “there are no shortcuts.”

He said: “We are doing everything we can to complete the Elizabeth line as quickly as we can but there are no shortcuts to delivering this hugely complex railway.

“The Elizabeth line must be completed to the highest safety and quality standards.”

A more comprehensive update will be published early next year.

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