Latest Rail News

11.12.18

Khan told in July of ‘high risk’ to Crossrail launch date as TfL reveals project’s ‘failed governance’

Documents released by TfL show that the former Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan warned Sadiq Khan in July that schedule plans were at “high risk” and have been called a “serious indictment of Crossrail’s failed governance.”

Over 100 documents have been released relating to Crossrail, including board meetings dating back to 2013. They “clearly demonstrate” that the London mayor and TfL have been fully transparent about what they knew and when regarding the nine-month delay to Crossrail, according to TfL.

They show that Crossrail reported growing costs and schedule pressures to both TfL and Khan throughout 2018 and that, at a meeting on 26 July, Crossrail briefed TfL executives and the London mayor that the official opening date, 9 December 2018, was at “high risk.”

But the documents show that Crossrail, which yesterday announced a further delay and a £1.4bn refinancing bailout from the DfT, did not make a formal decision to delay the project until 30 August.

The Crossrail documents are the latest update in a long-standing spat between Sadiq Khan, Sir Terry and the London Assembly Transport Committee over the nine-month delay to the Elizabeth Line project and when Khan was made aware of it.

Before the chair of Crossrail resigned last week, Morgan insisted that Khan had withheld the information and said he was “in absolutely no doubt” that he was told in July about the need to delay the project.

The London Assembly Transport Committee accused Khan of “deliberately misleading” the public and the committee and of withholding the information until it was made public in August.

Khan has denied these claims, but the committee said that the mayor has still failed to provide all the information requested. Its chair Caroline Pidgeon MBE said: “Once again, with this response from the mayor, we are left wanting.”

TfL added that if Crossrail had concluded at the end of July that the delivery date could not be met, then it would have been legally obliged to notify TfL and the DfT, but no such notice was issued until 30 August.

In his evidence to the transport committee, Sir Terry said: “We have always had to separate fact from concerns. The fact is that we did not have a formal position to take until 29 August.

“We did brief informally about concerns that we had at the board meeting and indeed in briefings with the mayor, but the mayor did not have any information of the sort that we provided on 30 August any day earlier than that date.”

The London mayor commented: “I’m pleased that these documents confirm that I have been fully transparent about what I knew when, and am hopeful the funding deal with government will now allow us to get the Elizabeth Line open as quickly as possible so that Londoners feel all the benefits.”

Khan said he remained “deeply angry and frustrated at the delays and cost overrun,” which is why he asked TfL to commission an independent review.

Image credit  -Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images

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