Transport for London (TfL) has admitted there are “increasing cost and schedule pressures” on the Crossrail construction programme, for which costs are currently 20% higher than had been forecast.
Crossrail construction costs are now £173M higher than expected, although TfL said it is on track to begin Elizabeth line services across central London within budget in December this year as planned.
Costs have climbed significantly since it was reported in November that construction costs were £73M, or 12%, higher than forecast. The increase is largely due to delays to Whitechapel and Woolwich stations, extra personnel costs and scope and design changes to system-wide main works.
A spokesperson for Crossrail said: “The Elizabeth line is being delivered within its available funding. The TfL finance report refers to Crossrail’s actual expenditure compared to forecast expenditure as estimated in the Crossrail Business Plan. Variances are expected as the Business Plan contains a number of forecast assumptions dating from September 2016, such as the timing and scope of work to be delivered in 2017/18.”
TfL has also said its May 2018 deadline to take over the Heathrow Connect service between Paddington and Heathrow is under threat from delays to the installation by Bombardier of signalling and software on trains. The delays were down to software problems.
It said the delays represent “the most significant single risk” to efforts to meet the May 2018 deadline. If the software, which is needed to run services on the Heathrow spur line, is delayed too long, new rolling stock which is being bought for Crossrail will not run to Heathrow until the autumn.
TfL said it was monitoring the delays closely at a senior level.
A spokesperson for TfL said: “As a precursor to the Elizabeth line we will take over Heathrow Connect services this May. Our supplier Bombardier continues to test the new trains and signalling systems on the approach to Heathrow.”
Heathrow Connect is run by Heathrow Express and Great Western Railway and is a stopping service between Heathrow and London Paddington stations.
Bombardier has been contacted for comment.