Thursday 16 May 2019 5:20 pm

Canary Wharf Group in spat with Crossrail over station's £80m safety bill

The Canary Wharf Group has hit back at Crossrail over claims that an extra £80m has been spent to make the Elizabeth Line station comply with TfL safety standards.

The group, which built the station and contributed £150m to the total cost, said it "categorically dismissed" comments made by Crossrail boss Mark Wild yesterday, in which he told MPs that £80m had been spent changing the equipment to allow it to meet safety standards set by London Underground.

Speaking to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday, Wild said: “We’ve actually spent nearly £80m at Canary Wharf changing the equipment to make it the equivalent safety standards that are required for a London Underground station.

Read more: Crossrail is paying £13m a year for drivers to practise until railway opens

“It was completed in 2015 but we still haven’t finished the work at Canary Wharf and we won’t finish Canary Wharf until September or October this year.

“It’s fair to say the quality of the work we’ve found in Canary Wharf, completed by Canary Wharf Group, before my time actually, has had to have a wholesale retrofit, particularly in the safety systems.”

A source close to the group said the need to retrofit the station was down to Crossrail's "complete failure to co-oridinate with London Underground throughout the whole programme".

They said the station had been fitted out in accordance with Crossrail specifications, which was safe, but that Crossrail now needed to fit the station to meet London Underground requirements.

"To try and shove this on to us is pretty disingenuous," they added.

Crossrail, also known as the £17.6bn Elizabeth Line, was scheduled to open last December but is now expected to open between October 2020 and March 2021.

Wild also told the committee that Canary Wharf station would not be finished until September or October this year.

A Canary Wharf Group spokesperson said: “We categorically dismiss the recent comments made by Crossrail in relation to the quality of work provided by Canary Wharf Group in building the Canary Wharf Crossrail station.

"Throughout the project, Canary Wharf Group has had monthly meetings and continual inspections with Crossrail to monitor progress. The station was built strictly in accordance with the Crossrail specification and any amendments required by Crossrail along the way. "

They continued: "When practical completion was reached and accepted by Crossrail in September 2015, Crossrail complimented Canary Wharf Group on the quality of its workmanship and materials used.

Read more: Crossrail bosses blasted for 'driving up costs' on London's £17.6bn project

"At no stage over the last 4 years has there been any communication to us of an additional £80m spend or dissatisfaction with the quality of workmanship. The comments made by Mark Wild are an attempt to pass blame for the delays and budget overrun on Crossrail.”

Other stations that have caused Crossrail problems include Bond Street, where the cost of design has ballooned from £126m to £412m. Wild said the central London station, which is regarded as one of the more complex stations to complete, would also not be finished until September or October.

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