London's deputy mayor for transport said today that a delay to the completion of the Elizabeth Line was the biggest revenue risk facing Transport for London (TfL) going forward.
Speaking at a meeting of the London Assembly Budget and Performance Committee to discuss TfL's five-year business plan and the mayor's budget, Val Shawcross said at present "all is well" on the Elizabeth Line, with the £14.8bn railway on track to be fully open in December 2019.
"But it's a very, very significant project, it's 10 per cent of London's rail capacity uplifted overnight, and of course the income projections are baked into the business plan, so that definitely is one to watch," she added.
Shawcross was asked what the key risks were to TfL going forward, and said the most significant in terms of the volume of income that could be affected, would be "if, for any reason, we failed to deliver the Elizabeth Line".
She said that as an organisation much more "completely reliant on Tube income for our revenue expenditure", any failure to deliver the project on time would be "a major revenue risk" for TfL.
According to TfL's draft business plan, over the next five years, the Elizabeth Line, as it will be known when it opens through central London, is forecast to bring in £3bn in passenger income.
TfL says once it's fully up and running, it will carry more than 200m passengers a year.
The first Elizabeth Line train entered passenger service slightly later than planned in June last year, and the rollout of trains has been more gradual than originally intended, but the wider timescale remains on track at present.
The next big milestone for the project is the TfL Rail service opening between Paddington and Heathrow in May, which will replace the existing Heathrow Connect service. Central London stations will open in December.
However, it emerged last June that five Crossrail stations, originally due to be completed this month, have been delayed until 2019.
Network Rail said changes to stations will now be completed by December 2019, later than originally intended, as it had been focused on "critical major railway upgrades", but in time for the opening of the full line.
|Elizabeth Line timeline|