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Crossrail delay halts Camden Town station upgrade

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Major infrastructure projects in London are set to be hit by the delay and cost overrun to Crossrail.

Procurement for upgrade works at Camden Town station as well as works along the Piccadilly line will be “discontinued”, according to Transport for London’s (TfL) five-year business plan. A £136M capacity upgrade is planned for the north London station, with signalling upgrades due to take place on the Piccadilly line.

A £600M revenue loss for the period 2018/19 to 2023/24 has also been confirmed due to the delay to Crossrail.

It comes after an independent review by accountancy firm KPMG revealed the cost of the Crossrail delay is likely to be between £1.6bn and £2bn, with the bosses of Crossrail unable to set a revised opening date for the line.

The report confirms that TfL needs to “adjust our plans to reflect the financial impact of prevailing economic conditions and the delay to the opening of the Elizabeth line”.

It states: “We are planning to follow the roll-out of new trains on the Piccadilly line with new signalling and then to upgrade the rest of our deep Tube lines, such large-scale investment will not be possible without capital funding from the Government.

“We will therefore be discontinuing the current procurement while we work with suppliers to find the best way forward.”

The report adds: “These pressures have a similar effect on major station projects, including the work to transform Camden Town station. We have no certainty of capital funding beyond 2020 and over the next 12 months we will be making the case to Government for confirmed capital support to enable these critical projects.

“At the same time, we will continue our successful programme of cost reduction across our organisation, and work to create new revenue streams.”

Progress to major station upgrades at Elephant & Castle and Holborn stations and completing work at Bank station, as well as opening the Northern Line extension to Battersea are set out as a priorities for the five-year period.

The plan also sets out plans to develop proposals to build Crossrail 2 and extend the Bakerloo line, the DLR and tram networks in the next 20 years.

London’s Transport Commissioner Mike Brown said: “This first year without a direct government grant for the day-to-day operating costs of running transport services has coincided with tough external economic conditions that has meant lower overall passenger numbers than previously forecast.

“That financial pressure has been compounded by the extremely disappointing news about the delay to the opening of the Elizabeth line.”

In response London First director of infrastructure David Leam added: “This business plan shows the impact that a perfect storm of government cuts, reduced farebox income, and Crossrail delays is having on Transport for London.

“Delays to station improvements, new trains and the Piccadilly line signalling upgrade mean that more Londoners will have to get used to less reliable and more overcrowded journeys.

“Getting future investment back on track requires new sources of funding to be identified beyond businesses, who already bear a heavy burden, such as selling existing assets like the Crossrail tunnel, devolving tax revenues to London, and looking again at fares.”

The five-year plan also demonstrates that TfL’s budgeted operating deficit of £968M in 2018/19 is forecast to have been reduced by more than £200M by the end of 2018/19 as a result of tight financial management.

This involved reducing the overall headcount by 2,700 as well as cutting senior management rolls across the business by 13%.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan added: “We are pushing ahead with our ambitious plans to make London a cleaner, safer, healthier city with more affordable and accessible public transport. This is despite an average reduction of £700M per year in TfL’s funding from Government, and the financial challenges of uncertainty in the economy and the delay to the Crossrail project.”

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