Crossrail has hit further delays and will now not open in summer 2021, as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Elizabeth line, running from Berkshire to Essex, was originally due to open in December 2018 but has been delayed several times.
Now Crossrail has announced that the impact of the pandemic means that an opening of the section of line between Paddington and Abbey Wood next summer is “no longer achievable”, after construction halted in March. Details of a revised schedule and associated costs will be issued “in due course”.
In a statement, Crossrail said: “A programme of this scale and complexity was already challenging, the impact of covid-19 has clearly made the existing pressures more acute. Due to a pause of physical activity on sites and significant constraints on ongoing work – time has been lost, only some of which can be recovered.”
Mark Wild, chief executive, Crossrail, said: “Everyone working on the Crossrail project knows London needs the Elizabeth line more than ever and we are doing everything possible to deliver the railway as safely and as quickly as we can. We have a comprehensive plan to complete the railway but existing schedule pressure along with covid-19 has impacted the programme and time has been lost. Further work is being undertaken to finalise our detailed recovery plan which re-sequences the remaining work.
“We are striving to commence intensive operational testing for the Elizabeth line, known as trial running, at the earliest opportunity. Our focus right now is on completing the remaining infrastructure works so that we can fully test the railway. Crossrail will undertake a period of intensive construction activity starting this August across the tunnels, portals and shafts to help recover lost time and complete the remaining construction works for trial running as we progress towards this next important phase.”