Track and signalling

06.03.18

Minister confirms there are ‘no plans’ to extend Crossrail to Basingstoke

Jo Johnson has confirmed that there are no plans to lengthen Crossrail to Basingstoke despite speculation from other MPs.

Following questioning from North East Hampshire Conservative MP Ranil Jayawardena, the rail minister said the government’s priority was to see the current project delivered on time before considering any additional work.

Recent developments in the programme have prompted fears that the line could be delayed or cost more than expected, with Crossrail chair Sir Terry Morgan admitting that work was “very close” to exceeding its allowed budget.

However, Johnson confirmed there were no current plans for an extension, saying: “The government’s and TfL’s immediate priority is to see the Crossrail project delivered on time and I am pleased to report that this continues to be the case, with full operations commencing from late 2019.

“There are no current plans to extend the Crossrail route and no assessment has been made of the amount or availability of funding for an extension to Basingstoke.”

The initial phases of testing on the line have now begun, but engineers were hit with delays after a voltage transformer meant to connect Network Rail and TfL equipment failed and exploded, forcing officials to push back energisation plans.

Fears were further compounded when it was revealed that the project had gone £190m over its expected costs for the last year to date.

However, Crossrail officials said the worries were unwarranted as the costs were related to phasing issues and not the project itself going above its overall budget. A spokesperson told RTM that the delayed work which caused the increased cost was already budgeted for but had to completed in a different period to what had initially been planned.

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