JUBILEE LINE Extension boss Cliff Mumm this week admitted that it will take the 'next step down from a miracle' to get Westminster Station open by the millennium.
The Bechtel executive told NCE that a new agreement had been reached with the electricians on the project over productivity.
However, the original late-November handover date for Westminster Station had now slipped, leaving a very tight programme to complete the job by the end of the year. 'It is now entirely down to whether the electricians can maintain productivity,' he said.
'They have been hitting targets over the last few weeks but things are very tight.'
Asked if it would take a miracle to get the job done before the start of 2000, he replied: 'What's the next step down from a miracle?'
However, this weekend will see the Jubilee Line Extension finally completed end to end with the first passenger trains running through Green Park Station. The Charing Cross link will close as the east-west link between Stratford and Stanmore is completed.
Southwark Station will also be opened, leaving just Westminster unfinished.
Mumm said that the project had been forced to delay through-line running for a week to allow work on the new Waterloo East Station for Railtrack to be finished. Without this, Railtrack feared additional passengers from Charing Cross would cause overcrowding.
Mumm said he was pleased with progress being made resolving claims from contractors and denied that the £3.5bn cost was escalating.
'We are still in the same range. The big issue is how the contracts are finalised and we are likely to have the bulk of these resolved by next June,' he said.www.jle.lul.co.uk Delivering the JLE ( NCE October 1999)