The uncertainty surrounding Crossrail 1 should not result in a delayed decision on Crossrail 2.
Those are the thoughts of the uppermost voice of the rail sector, the Railway Industry Association (RIA), which represents more than 240 suppliers in the sector.
It comes after several meetings undertaken by the London Assembly to ascertain when the Elizabeth line will be launched, and how the financial shortfall will be met.
The London Assembly’s Budget and Performance Committee has examined Transport for London’s (TfL) five-year business plan given that Crossrail 1 has already been the subject of a £2 billion bail-out.
An original opening date of December 2018 has been delayed by nine months – with the possibility of this being pushed back even further – which means TfL will miss out on at least £600 million in fares.
Discussions in the various meetings have made it clear that investment for Crossrail 2 will be moved so that Crossrail 1 is completed.
This, however, should not result in a delay on the decision regarding whether or not to progress with Crossrail 2 which, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the RIA said, can have a “transformational impact” on the UK.
He said: “Whilst this delay in the opening of Crossrail is regrettable – and the rail industry must always learn lessons on delivering major projects to deadline and budget – we should remember that schemes like Crossrail and Crossrail 2 have a transformational impact on the UK, its economy and connectivity and therefore a delay to one should not affect decisions on the other.
“We need the government, Greater London Authority, industry and stakeholders to work together to find innovative ways of finishing Crossrail and, ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review later this year, to find funding and safeguard the route for Crossrail 2.”
The prospective rail route, which will connect the South East to London, will also boost rail capacity by 10%.