Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) has problems and may go over-budget, not helped by Heathrow only paying £70m (not £230m)
The management of Crossrail have issued a major alert that the £14.8 billion line (the Elizabeth Line) might not open on time and is at risk of blowing its budget. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said problems with software on new trains and an electrical explosion in east London, when engineers tried to switch on the high-voltage power, have caused “real, serious challenges.” Stations such as Bond Street, Paddington, Liverpool Street, Woolwich and Whitechapel — where there have been major construction problems — are behind schedule. Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan admitted the line was “very close” to exceeding its budget. Costs are increasing rapidly in the rush to try and open on time. The line will link Reading and Heathrow with Shenfield and Abbey Wood once fully opened by the end of 2019. The central section of the line, between Paddington and Abbey Wood is due to open in December 2018. Heathrow was initially asked to contribute £230 million. But it managed to argue that it would only derive small additional benefit as it was “full”. (In reality, Heathrow has a lot of extra terminal capacity and its number of passengers rises annually, even with no 3rd runway. Heathrow had 75.7m passengers in 2017 compared to 72.3m in 2013.) So the taxpayer is having to shoulder the financial costs, which Heathrow should have paid.
Crossrail chiefs warn that £14bn Elizabeth line could blow its budget and open late
by ROSS LYDALL (Evening Standard)
Crossrail chiefs have issued a major alert that the £14.8 billion line might not open on time and is at risk of blowing its budget.
Problems with software on new trains and an electrical explosion in east London, which occurred when engineers tried to switch on the high-voltage power, have caused “real, serious challenges”, Mayor Sadiq Khan was told.
Mr Khan faces the embarrassment of not having the project — renamed the Elizabeth line — ready for the Queen to open before she heads to Sandringham for Christmas. Concerns have been raised about the impact on plans to pedestrianise Oxford Street.
Stations such as Bond Street, Paddington, Liverpool Street, Woolwich and Whitechapel — where there have been major construction problems — are behind schedule.
Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan, in a bleak assessment to the Transport for London board yesterday, said there were “a lot of balls in the air” and admitted the line was “very close” to exceeding its budget. show all
Costs are increasing rapidly as bosses “scramble” to complete the project, which will link Reading and Heathrow with Shenfield and Abbey Wood once fully opened by the end of 2019.
The central section of the line, between Paddington and Abbey Wood via two new tunnels under central London, is due to open in December.
The explosion at Pudding Mill Lane in November caused three months of delays. “It got switched on — and exploded,” Sir Terry said.
“We eventually found out it had been designed incorrectly.”
Engineers last night failed in their third attempt to switch on the power. The first test trains will now not start running on the new tracks until next month at the earliest.
Crossrail chiefs are set to switch to “Plan B” in May, when Heathrow Connect services are incorporated. The Connect trains will have to remain in service as signalling problems are likely to prevent Crossrail trains getting all the way to the airport.
Sir Terry said he was “very confident” the line, on which construction began in 2009, would be able to open by the end of December. He said: “We are very close on the funding envelope, and we’re certainly going to have to continue to work together to make sure we get this railway running this year.
“I don’t know what more we can do. When we’ve had problems we’ve scratched our head and tried to find the best people in the world. We have either got them, or, if we haven’t got them, we have gone and got them.
“It was always going to be a very difficult time but the team is still very confident they can get there.”
Mark Wild, London Underground managing director who oversees Crossrail, said: “We can still do it, but it’s very, very hard and complex and it brings with it cost pressures as well.”
Mr Khan curtailed discussion of the problems during the public section of the TfL board and ordered that they be held in private.
Heathrow and Crossrail in legal dispute over how much TfL would have to pay to use 5 miles of track
Crossrail (the Elizabeth line) is a £15 billion train line designed to cross London from west to east, bringing relief for commuters, but it seems it may not now stop at Heathrow because of a legal row with the airport’s owners over fees. Heathrow has its lucrative Heathrow Express service runs partly on a 5-mile stretch of track, built and paid for (over £1 billion) by the airport. The Crossrail link into Heathrow would run on this section of track. It is an expensive (£25 per ticket) route, and Heathrow’s foreign owners want to recoup past spending on the private train line with an “investment recovery charge” of £570 for every train that uses the track, plus extra fees of about £107 per train. But the Elizabeth line, by contrast, will be in line with the fares that apply across the rest of the capital’s transport network. The opening of the new Crossrail service to Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4 is expected to throw the financial sustainability of the existing Heathrow Express into question, though Heathrow insists it would continue to run alongside the Elizabeth Line. Heathrow’s owners are now in dispute with the Office of Rail and Road, which sets track access charges, over the amount that TfL, which runs the Elizabeth Line, will need to pay to use the track. The hearings were held earlier this year and a High Court judgment is expected within weeks.
Taxpayers to cover Heathrow’s £160 million contribution to Crossrail – CAA claims Heathrow doesn’t need more passengers coming by rail
Plans for the £14.8 billion Crossrail line across London originally envisaged – in 2008 – a £230 million contribution from Heathrow, to reflect the benefit it is expected to gain from the link to central London, Maidenhead, and Brentwood. But now it emerges that the taxpayer must cover a £160 million shortfall, which Heathrow will now not pay. Now Heathrow will only pay £70 million. [Heathrow is pushing hard for a 3rd runway – surely if it got that, it would need all the rail passengers from Crossrail that it can get]. The CAA has said that with the airport already running at or near capacity, (it is not at capacity for terminal space, only runway space) Crossrail would deliver no net benefit in terms of additional passengers. After the CAA set aside a provisional pot of £100 million to pay towards Crossrail, the DfT lowered its proposal to £137 million, and now down to £70 million. The National Audit Office said the shortfall means that the DfT’s contribution to the project will rise from £4.8 billion to almost £5 billion; but this remains inside the £5.2 billion set aside in case it failed to secure sufficient funding from private sources. Crossrail is now half built and is due to open by December 2019. It will run from Maidenhead, via Heathrow, out to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.