Opening of £20bn Elizabeth Line is pushed back from vague ‘early 2022’ launch to May

The beleaguered £20billion Crossrail line has been delayed yet again to next May with critics urging project bosses to have ‘some real honesty’ about its progress.

Transport for London had pledged it would be open in the first six months of 2022.

The Elizabeth Line trains will run under the capital and were billed as way to encourage use of public transport.

But the bloated project has been beset by problems, including the coronavirus pandemic. It had been supposed to be finished by April 2019.

And Jacobs, the watchdog looking at how it has been progressing, said it was going to be delayed.

Its latest report said: ‘There are considerable challenges in almost every delivery area of the Programme.

‘It is evident that there is insufficient time for target dates to be met and that pressure is increasing on the achievement of the start of Trial Operations on the deterministic date of November 2021.

‘We do not believe it will be possible for CRL to deliver full Trial Operations on that date.

Elizabeth Line - which is named after the Queen - has been delayed yet again to May 2022

Elizabeth Line - which is named after the Queen - has been delayed yet again to May 2022

Elizabeth Line – which is named after the Queen – has been delayed yet again to May 2022

Entrance to Crossrail underground works using Kingsway subway entrance in Holborn, London

Entrance to Crossrail underground works using Kingsway subway entrance in Holborn, London

Entrance to Crossrail underground works using Kingsway subway entrance in Holborn, London

‘The forecast P50 date for the start of Trial Operations has slipped from February 2022 to (REDCATED).

‘Stage 3 Passenger Service has moved to May 2022 , but remains within the latter part of the declared opening window of the first half of 2022.

The report reveals the trains used to test the line have been unable to be run properly.

Caroline Pidgeon, a Lib-Dem member of the London Assembly, told the Evening Standard: “Crossrail has been plagued with exaggerated claims about its progress and in the last three years opening dates have repeatedly turned out to be wildly over optimistic.

 “Even at the beginning of the year it was being claimed that the central section would be open by this Christmas.

“Crossrail is now more than 1,000 days late, so it is time for some real honesty and transparency over the progress of the project and any difficulties it may be facing.”

The railway - which will run as the Elizabeth Line between Berkshire and Essex via central London - was due to open in December 2018

The railway - which will run as the Elizabeth Line between Berkshire and Essex via central London - was due to open in December 2018

The railway – which will run as the Elizabeth Line between Berkshire and Essex via central London – was due to open in December 2018

The rail route, named the Elizabeth Line, will let people travel from East to West across London

The rail route, named the Elizabeth Line, will let people travel from East to West across London

The rail route, named the Elizabeth Line, will let people travel from East to West across London

Caroline Pidgeon, a Lib-Dem member of the London Assembly, called for 'real honesty' on line

Caroline Pidgeon, a Lib-Dem member of the London Assembly, called for 'real honesty' on line

Caroline Pidgeon, a Lib-Dem member of the London Assembly, called for ‘real honesty’ on line

The news comes just months after Andy Byford, commissioner of TfL, suggested Crossrail may open sooner than the first half of 2022.

Speaking on BBC’s Politics London programme in January, Mr Byford said: ‘I’ve challenged my team to see if we can safely improve upon that first half of 2022 date, it has my personal attention.

‘I’m not going to nail my colours to an earlier date until I’m certain that that can be achieved.

‘We’ve had too many deadlines that have come and gone in the past, but I am driving the team to achieve the earliest, cheapest, safe possible opening date. So watch this space.’

On the development of Crossrail 2, Mr Byford said ‘the case still remains’ despite the project being mothballed as part of the November 2020 Government bailout.

Crossrail 2 would connect existing railway lines in Surrey and south-west London with stations in east London and Hertfordshire.

Mr Byford said: ‘We have prioritised more immediately important schemes but it’s certainly a scheme that we still want to do.

‘My view would be that the case still remains obviously, there’s some uncertainty now with Covid.’ 

Link hienalouca.com

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