Thursday 21 November 2019 4:43 pm

Crossrail delay until 2021 may cost London £2bn

The cost of delaying Crossrail until 2021 may rise to £2bn, according to Transport for London (TFL) bosses.

TfL says the latest delay, which means the central part of the line won’t open until 2021, will cost £500m to £750m in lost fares.

Read more: Crossrail will not run until 2021 and could cost an extra £650m, bosses admit

This is added to the £600m in lost revenues from not opening last December as planned and a further £400m to £650m extra in construction costs.

Speaking to mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the TfL board yesterday, Tfl chief financial officer Simon Kilonback said the latest delay will have a “material impact” on future revenues for years to come.

“We will be building scenarios into our business plan that cope with a range of options which could account for as much as £500 million to £750 million in revenue impact spread over four years,” he said.

“We will obviously work with our teams to ensure we prioritise getting this railway into revenue service as soon as we possibly can, given the magnitude of that impact on TfL’s finances.”

It was announced two weeks ago that the new Elizabeth line – linking Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield and Abbey Wood – would not open next year.

The original opening date was supposed to be December 2018 and the project had an initial cost of £14.8bn.

Crossrail bosses have now said they expect the central section of the Elizabeth line to be open by 2021.

Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild warned that technical issues and testing were the largest causes of the delay.

Wild said that Crossrail testing will not be viable before summer 2020 and that it would take 12 months to complete.

Crossrail chairman Tony Meggs told the TfL board yesterday: “There will never be certainty with a project of this scale and complexity but we want to be as confident as we can when we issue a revised forecast that it will be the last time we do that.”

Read more: Crossrail to pay out millions more to hired firm to keep project on track

It comes as TfL announced yesterday it had posted a £111m loss for the first half of 2019-20.

This represented an £80m deficit reduction from the previous year and was far better than the £320m loss TfL was expecting.