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“Our latest assessment is that the opening of the central section will not occur in 2020, which was the first part of our previously declared opening window,” says Crossrail chief executive, Mr Mark Wild. “The Elizabeth Line will open as soon as practically possible in 2021. We will provide Londoners with further certainty about when the Elizabeth Line will open early in 2020.”
The 21km underground section through central London from Paddington to Stratford and Abbey Wood was originally scheduled to open in December 2018, but has faced heavy delays and cost overruns.
Crossrail said that the project’s costs will increase due to programme risks and uncertainties, with the latest projections indicating that between £400m and £650m additional funding could be required, on top of the revised funding package agreed by the mayor of London, government and Transport for London (TfL) in December 2018.
In a notice to the London stock exchange, TfL said that it has agreed with the Department for Transport (DfT) that the original Financing Package will remain in place. TfL and DfT are discussing how these additional costs will be funded.
“The Crossrail project has made good progress over recent months as the new plan to complete the Elizabeth Line is implemented by the supply chain,” Wild says.
The entrance to Paddington Crossrail Station
“A key focus during 2019 has been finalising the stations, tunnels, portals and shafts. By the end of the year, Custom House, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations will be complete and the project is on track to finish fit-out of the tunnels in January. The central section will be substantially complete by the end of the first quarter in 2020, except for Bond Street and Whitechapel stations where work will continue.”
Wild said the two critical paths for the project remain software development for the signalling and train systems, and the complex assurance and handover process for the railway, which both involve safety certification for the Elizabeth line.
“Crossrail Ltd will need further time to complete software development for the signalling and train systems and the safety approvals process for the railway,” he said. “The trial running phase will begin at the earliest opportunity in 2020, and will be followed by testing of the operational railway to ensure it is safe and reliable.”
Crossrail trains are already operating on the mainline network from London Liverpool Street to Shenfield, and from London Paddington to Hayes & Harlington and are due to be extended west to Reading in December.
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