Let’s be honest, nobody expected the Crossrail to open on time – but
It was only in July that we brought you the news of the Crossrail’s official opening date, which, had everything gone to plan, would mean we’d be riding the tracks right now. Then, just a month later, it was announced that the opening would be delayed by about nine months. Two days after its original opening date, we told you that it wasn’t looking likely until at least 2020. Now, here we are in April 2019, once more playing the game of Crossrail opening date sweepstakes – and if you bet on it being delayed again, you are of course correct. Props to you, you clever thing!
Today, the BBC reported that Crossrail, according to a well-placed “senior source”, could be delayed as late as 2021. Reportedly, the testing of trains and signalling isn’t going as well as first hoped, which could result in severe delays on the Elizabeth line. The source then handily spelled out a trio of scenarios, the worst case of which is a spring 2021 opening date (a middle case for summer 2020, and a best case for spring 2020 were also given, but we’ve been burned a few too many times to trust that).
It’s just the latest setback for the beleaguered route, which has not only spectacularly missed its launch date, but is also expected end up more than £2bn over budget. To make matters worse, New Civil Engineer also reported yesterday that TfL will have to pay an annual charge of £15M to the Canary Wharf Group if the district’s Crossrail station is not complete by 2021.
Important parts of the train line’s infrastructure have not yet been completed, including a number of stations and tunnel interiors. The signalling system will also need to be tested for reliability and safety before it can carry passengers.
The delay won’t affect parts of the route that are already open—from Liverpool Street to Shenfield, and Paddington to Hayes & Harlington—but it does delay the central London section of the line. Which, frankly, is the bit we all care about.
Eventually, in who knows how many years, the Elizabeth line will carry passengers all the way from Reading and Heathrow, right through the West End, and out towards Stratford and beyond. But it looks like Elizabeth will have to wait to rule over the tube map.
Featured image: James Kevin Wood via Flickr
Also published on Medium.