First phase of troubled Crossrail scheme WILL open by June

First phase of troubled Crossrail scheme WILL open by June, bosses say – up to 1,200 days late and £4billion over budget

  • People will be able to take the Elizabeth line from Paddington and Abbey Wood
  • The project is over three-and-a-half years late and billions of pounds over budget
  • Sadiq Khan said today he was delighted Elizabeth Line would open this year

The often-delayed and hugely expensive Crossrail scheme will finally open by June – three-and-a-half years late and £4billion over budget.

Her Royal Highness The Queen had been supposed to open the Elizabeth Line on December 9, 2018.

But 1,299 days later it will have finally flung open its doors, with Transport for London signalling it will be done by the end of June at the latest.

Londoners will then be able to take the Elizabeth line between Paddington and Abbey Wood.

The track is still in the trial stage, to ensure the safety and reliability of the railway for public use and to test the timetables.

It had been set a budget of £14.8 billion in 2010 and was initially due to be completed by the end of 2018, but it was hit by a number of problems including construction delays and difficulties installing complex signalling systems.

Testing is being done on the new Elizabeth Line ahead of it finally opening it this year

Londoners will be able to take the Elizabeth line between Paddington and Abbey Wood at last

The predicted cost of finishing the project is now £18.9 billion.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said today he was delighted it would be opened this year.

He added: ‘The Elizabeth line will transform travel across London and the South East, benefitting millions and supporting hundreds of thousands of new homes and jobs. 

‘Its brand new trains and step-free stations will help us deliver a modern, truly world-class transport system that allows us to support the growth in London’s population over the coming decades.

‘That’s why I’m delighted it is on track to open in the first half of 2022, in what will be a landmark moment for the capital.’ 

Workers are said to have made ‘significant progress’ on the line over Christmas.

A sign on the platform of Paddington Crossrail station on February 14, 2020 in London

The Elizabeth line will pass through London’s Paddington station. The line is currently undergoing the trial stage, to ensure the safety and reliability of the railway for public use and to test the timetables

One of the platforms for the new Elizabeth Line at Woolwich station in east London, August 2019

Planned upgrades took place and two ‘state-of-the-art new stations’ were added to ahead of them being handed over to TfL.

Other works included Siemens signaling software being installed as well as the control communications system and the tunnel ventilation system being upgraded.

Trial operations being carried out on the line include responding to scenarios along with thousands of volunteers.

TfL says emergency services including the British Transport Police, London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service will also be involved.

The launch of the Elizabeth line was led by the Crossrail board until October 2020, when governance was transferred to TfL.Andy Byford, Transport for London’s Commissioner, said: ‘This is an extremely exciting year for us and for London as we get ever closer to opening the Elizabeth line and welcoming customers from Abbey Wood to Paddington.

‘The launch of this much needed and transformational addition to the transport network will be central to the recovery for London and the UK.

‘Customers will experience a new way of travelling – with brand new, spacious step-free stations and new connections across the capital and beyond.

‘There will be no better symbol of London’s renaissance from the pandemic.’  

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