Rail service improvements and disruptions

10.01.19

Rail industry urges policymakers to save Crossrail 2 in wake of major Crossrail delays

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has urged Crossrail policymakers not to postpone Crossrail 2 after it emerged that there are “thousands of hours of construction work still to be done” on Crossrail.

Following discussions at a London Assembly Transport Committee meeting, the RIA says it has become clear that money earmarked for Crossrail 2 will be diverted to complete the controversial Crossrail project, which has been hit with multiple delays and spiralling costs.

At the assembly’s committee meeting yesterday, current chief executive Mark Wild said there were thousands of hours of construction still to be completed. Bond Street, for example, is months from completion and still requires floors, ceilings, escalators, and a permanent power supply.

The comments, along with previously confidential documents released by TfL, revealed the extent of the delays and financial troubles, and that government and London transport chiefs were informed of the first alert that Crossrail’s schedule was in serious trouble as far back as June 2016.

Also speaking at the committee meeting, former boss Sir Terry Morgan revealed that TfL had altered his reports on the scheme’s progress and had been manipulating when information that the flagship project would be delayed was released.

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the RIA, has now urged policymakers not to delay a decision on Crossrail 2 in the wake of these controversies.

“Whilst this delay in the opening of Crossrail is regrettable – and the rail industry must always learn lessons on delivering major projects to deadline and budget – we should remember that schemes like Crossrail and Crossrail 2 have a transformational impact on the UK, its economy and connectivity and therefore a delay to one should not affect decisions on the other,” he said.

“Both these schemes are urgently needed to meet growing demand for rail services. Crossrail 1 will deliver over 57,000 new homes, generate 55,000 jobs and add over £42bn to the UK economy, benefits that will far exceed the final cost of the project, and Crossrail 2 will similarly support 200,000 new homes, 60,000 new jobs during the project and a 10% increase in rail capacity.”

Caplan said that the government, industry, stakeholders, and the Greater London Authority must work together to find ways of finishing Crossrail and to fund and safeguard the Crossrail 2 route alongside major projects like HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail ahead of the government’s Spending Review later this year.

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.

Image credit - Dominic Lipinski

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