Crossrail handed £350m government lifeline to prevent further delays

The government has given the Crossrail project a £350m short-term loan in order to prevent it from falling further behind schedule.

The £15.4bn east-west train line was due to open next month but the launch of the Elizabeth line was delayed by nine months after setbacks to station infrastructure and signalling.

The company said in a statement that the revised schedule is necessary to “ensure a safe and reliable railway for customers from day one of passenger service,” and now the government has stepped in to provide extra funding available to the mayor from next year.

Jo Johnson announced the £350m short-term repayable financing in a statement to Parliament, saying the funding will “ensure that full momentum is maintained behind Crossrail.”

The transport minister described it as an interim measure, and that TfL and the government are currently in discussions over how any additional funding will be provided to Crossrail, with London (as the primary beneficiary of the project) bearing any extra costs from the financing arrangement.

TfL and the DfT have commissioned an independent review of Crossrail’s governance and another review on Crossrail’s finance and commercial position.

When open, Crossrail should carry up to 200 million passengers a year, delivering £42bn of investment into the UK economy, the DfT says.

Earlier this month, London transport bosses and the mayor of London were accused of misleading the London Assembly Transport Committee after it “identified grave discrepancies” in evidence given to its investigation.

The London Assembly transport committee chair, Caroline Pidgeon, told RTM that if the claims were true then a Financial Conduct Authority investigation of Crossrail should “absolutely” be launched.

A group of MPs and council leaders also united to call for the Crossrail project to be extended into south London and Kent, asking for £25m funding to draw up a business case for ‘Crossrail to Ebbsfleet.’

 Image credit - Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

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