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Sir Terry Morgan launches attack on TfL and claims it altered his reports on Crossrail’s progress

Former Crossrail chair Sir Terry Morgan has accused TfL of altering reports on the scheme's progress and manipulating the information on whether the flagship project would be delayed.

Appearing before the London Assembly’s Transport Committee, Morgan repeatedly pointed to a slide given to TfL at a meeting involving the mayor on 26 July which said that delivering the project in 2018 was “not feasible.”

Morgan said he was disappointed at the “personalising” of the Crossrail delay against him and told the session that TfL’s communications team spent “much of August” devising a strategy of how to present a delay they knew about in late July.

He also claimed that weekly updates to the London mayor Sadiq Khan, which have since been publicly released, had been edited by TfL, giving false impressions different to what Morgan and Crossrail intended.

The ex-chairman claimed that he attended a TfL board meeting on 25 July and said: “It never happened before but I was given this sheet – in spite of what was said on the 19th December – I was given this sheet by TfL about what to say at that board meeting that took out any reference to not being able to deliver the programme in 2018.”

On 19 June, a weekly briefing note was sent to Khan, who has been at the centre of controversy regarding the delays to Crossrail, but briefing notes need to be approved by TfL before being sent to the London mayor.

It said: “At the moment there is insufficient time to complete the testing required ahead of joint trial running and trial operations from 1 October”, adding that this “remains an area of serious contention.”

But Morgan told the assembly that this part of the briefing note was deleted by TfL.

Crossrail was given a £1.4bn bailout in December, with the Greater London Authority paying the majority via a DfT loan, a day after the £15.4bn project was due to open on its original schedule. Crossrail is now not expected until 2020.

Sir Terry Morgan also hit back at accusations from Sadiq Khan that he “misremembered” the events leading up to the announcement of the project’s delay, telling the assembly “I do not suffer from memory loss.”

Khan made the allegation speaking in front of the assembly transport committee last month, alongside TfL commissioner Mike Brown, with both saying they had not told Morgan what to say about the delays.

Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild also spoke, telling the committee that even the July assessment was too optimistic with “thousands of hours of construction work” still required in the tunnel.

Following Morgan's account, Khan's deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander appeared before the committee. She said: "This idea that on 26 July Sir Terry ruled out a December 2018 opening date is simply not true and it did not happen.”

In the first weeks of taking up her post, Alexander said she was struck by the "real resistance and a lack of realism from Sir Terry about what was really going on with this project.”

Image credit -  Richard Pohle/The Times/PA Archive/PA Images


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