BOTH Crossrail Ltd and Transport for London have responded to today's National Audit Office report, which says that 'although cost increases and schedule delays are in line with Crossrail Ltd's 2020 estimates, they exceed the available budget and there are still significant issues that could arise'.
Transport commissioner Andy Byford said: 'It is right the Crossrail project continues to be scrutinised and we welcome the National Audit Office’s report. Crossrail is a transformational project that will benefit London and beyond forever, and it is vitally important to get it over the line. As such, it continues to have my personal attention. As acknowledged in the report, significant progress has been made and the Elizabeth Line is on track to open in the first half of 2022.’
Meanwhile, Crossrail CEO Mark Wild welcomed the NAO's assessment and pointed out that trial running began on 10 May. He added: 'Crossrail remains on track to open the Elizabeth Line in the first half of 2022. We have recently commenced the major railway trials that will take place throughout the rest of this year involving trains running to a timetable through the central tunnels, remaining construction activity is coming to an end and we have now transferred five major new stations to Transport for London, who will operate the Elizabeth Line.
'The forecast cost of completing the project remains unchanged at £18.9 billion.
'Now more than ever Londoners are relying on the capacity and connectivity that the line will bring. We are doing everything we can to complete the line as quickly as possible, but there are no short-cuts to delivering this hugely complex railway. The Elizabeth Line must be completed to the highest safety and quality standards.'