Friday 21 August 2020 11:20 am

Crossrail opening delayed until 2022 and extra £1.1bn needed to finish project

The opening of London’s new Crossrail underground line has been delayed until 2022 and an extra £1.1bn is needed to complete the project, Crossrail Ltd said today.

Read more: Crossrail set for further delays and cost increases due to coronavirus

Crossrail said the central section of the Elizabeth Line between Paddington and Abbey Wood will be ready to open in the first half of 2022.

Crossrail has faced severe delays and budget blowouts over the past decade.

The line – which will connect Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east – was supposed to be open in December 2018 and a cost of £14.9bn.

Last year bosses pushed back the expected opening date to late 2020.

Read more: TfL may halt Crossrail 2 work over government funding review

Crossrail said today that the project could run up to £1.1bn above the financing package agreed in December 2018 (£450m more than the upper end of the range announced in November 2019).

Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild said: “Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages and is being completed at a time of great uncertainty due to the risk and potential impacts of further covid outbreaks.

“We are working tirelessly to complete the remaining infrastructure works so that we can fully test the railway and successfully transition the project as an operational railway to Transport for London.”

Andy Byford, London’s transport commissioner, said: “It is very disappointing to receive confirmation from Crossrail Ltd that their plan for opening the Elizabeth Line now has a date of the first half of 2022.”

Shaun Bailey, Conservative candidate for mayor, said: “Crossrail has been delayed, again, to 2022 and at an extra cost to taxpayers of nearly £5bn in overruns and lost revenue. Thanks to Sadiq Khan’s negligence and mismanagement, Londoners will have to wait longer on overcrowded trains while our city’s economic recovery after covid will be slower and weaker as a result of having this necessary infrastructure delayed. London deserves better, commuters deserve better.”