Posted 9th April 2019 | 3 Comments

Complexity and skills shortage still hampering Crossrail

A POSSIBLE opening date for Crossrail under central London could be announced by the end of the month, according to chief executive Mark Wild.

However, he is warning that progress continues to be hampered by several problems, including a shortage of skills among contractors as well as software issues and a safety-critical failure which has caused close-headway tests in the tunnels between Paddington and Liverpool Street to be postponed from 18 March until after Easter.

Mr Wild has been spelling out the causes of the continuing delay in a letter to London Assembly transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon, but he has not revealed what the safety-critical failure was.

He wrote: ‘We remain committed to being able to provide an opening window – the Earliest Opening Programme – in April.

‘This process is taking longer than I had hoped but we are making progress. We hope to provide more detail to the Assembly, our London stakeholders and beyond, later in April.

‘The completion of installation, including close-out of critical snags and provision of associated information at stations, shafts and portals remains an issue.

‘This reflects a combination of the complexity of interfacing activities required to complete works, as well as constraints in the technical capabilities both within the supply chain and Crossrail.’

The line should have opened in December last year, but services across London are not now expected to be launched until 2020.

Bombardier has built a new fleet of Class 345 Aventra units for the line but on-train systems are still not yet ready, in spite of numerous trials. More than 20 Aventra units have been stabled at Old Oak Common, where they are understood to be awaiting further downloads of software.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Jez Milton, Manchester

    This is utterly pathetic and only getting worse with the feeble excuses.

    How to turn a landmark project into an international laughing stock. How to undermine confidence that any rail project in GB can be delivered.

    How do the handsomely-paid (massively overpaid?) people at the top of Crossrail and Bombardier sleep at night? On a par with Network Rail with their electrification omnishambles in CP5.

  • Colin Brown, London

    From what I hear, Journeys between London and Paddington will start in December 2019.

  • Andrew Gwilt, Benfleet Essex

    Do you think that Crossrail will still be completed before the end of 2019. If that is what is planned for the completion of the Crossrail (Elizabeth Line). Or will it be once again postponed until mid 2020. Because I think all that money has been wasted on a brand new railway line that passes underneath Central London. And it should of opened in December last year. But it wasn't going to happen. Its such a shame.