Crossrail tunnel

UK: The London Paddington to Abbey Wood central section of the Elizabeth Line is now expected to open in ‘summer 2021’. The full service from Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east is now expected to commence by mid-2022, promoter Crossrail Ltd said when it issued an update on the delayed project on January 10.

The original opening date for the tunnels under central London had been December 2018, but significant delays were confirmed in August 2018.

The latest forecast is based on the state of progress with the development of signalling and onboard software along with safety assurance which must be completed before operational testing can begin this autumn.

Crossrail train

Crossrail Ltd said the central section would be ‘substantially complete’ by the end of Q1 2020, except for Bond Street and Whitechapel stations where work will run to the end of the year.

Crossrail Ltd expects the project to be delivered within the additional funding range announced in November, which was between £400m and £650m more than the revised funding which had been agreed by the Mayor of London, government and Transport for London in December 2018. This takes the cost to more than £18bn, up from the initial budget of £14·8bn.

‘I know that Londoners are deeply frustrated by the delays to the Elizabeth Line and we are doing everything we can to get this railway finished and open’, said Crossrail Ltd CEO Mark Wild. ‘We continue to make good progress with the central section now reaching substantial completion and we are increasingly confident that Bond Street station will be ready to open with the rest of the railway. We have a comprehensive plan to complete the Elizabeth Line and the milestones we must hit during 2020, including the testing of the signalling and train systems and safety assurance, but there are no shortcuts to delivery of this hugely complex railway.’