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Crossrail brings in London Underground heavyweight for 'complex' final phases

crossrail bond street station

London Underground managing director Mark Wild is to become the new chief executive of Crossrail, replacing Simon Wright. 

Wild joins Crossrail Ltd from London Underground where he has served as managing director since June 2016.

Crossrail confirmed in August that Elizabeth Line services between Paddington in central London and its Abbey Wood in the south east of the capital will not open until autumn 2019. The line was originally scheduled to open this December. 

A major element of the delay has been the complex combination of three separate signalling systems trackside and on board trains, which needs to be able to interface with the systems used on the existing Network Rail sections of the route. Wild was previously managing director of Westinghouse Signals, where he was responsible for integration projects such as the upgrade of the Victoria line for London Underground.

The new chief executive will work alongside Wright until he steps down at the end of the year. Once the central section of Crossrail is complete Wild will return to London Underground.

London Underground director of network operations Nigel Holness will step in for Wild during the secondment and will take up his previously-announced position of deputy chief executive for Metro Trains Sydney at a later date.

The focus for the project will now be moving to full-time testing, with Wild leading the project through its final phases, including trial running, trial operations and the opening of the central section.

Last week, a £350M interim financing package between the Government and the mayor of London was confirmed, which will enable Crossrail Ltd to complete the project.

“The Elizabeth line is the single most significant addition to London’s transport infrastructure in a generation,” said London transport commissioner Mike Brown. “It is absolutely vital that Crossrail Ltd completes the job of delivering it safely and reliably for London. Mark’s extensive knowledge and experience of delivering major signalling and systems integration projects will be vital for the final stages of the project.”

Wright said: “Everyone involved in the project is fully focused on ensuring the Elizabeth line is completed as quickly as possible. With the construction phase due to come to an end later this year, the major focus for Crossrail will be the integration of the complex railway systems and the start of full-time testing.”

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