Back in August, London got a nasty surprise: our shiny new underground railway (the first new tube line in half a century) wouldn’t open in December 2018 after all. In fact, the opening date of Crossrail was pushed back to autumn 2019 – and soon afterwards, even that date was scrapped as unrealistic.
Ever since then, we’ve been waiting to find out when exactly we’ll actually be able to zoom from Canary Wharf to Paddington in a cool 17 minutes. And now we know. March 2021 is the new deadline that Crossrail Ltd has set itself to open the soon-to-be-Elizabeth line.
An official statement yesterday evening reveals that a new plan has been developed to sort the 100,000-odd things that still need to be done to get Crossrail into service, and that the builders have ‘identified a six-month delivery window with a midpoint at the end of 2020’. In other words, the new trains could be running passengers across London as early as October next year, or as late as March 2021 – two and a quarter years after the initial opening date of December 2018.
Oh, and there’ll be a station missing. The Crossrail section of Bond Street tube is running so far behind schedule that it won’t join the line until later.
The good news is that the works on the central core of the line ‘are expected to be delivered within the funding package agreed by the Mayor, Government and Transport for London in December 2018’ – that is, there shouldn’t need to be any further cash injections following the £1.4 billion extra that was secured at the end of last year.
So hold tight, London: Crossrail is still coming! It’s just taking a little longer than anyone expected.