Transport minister Theresa Villiers has said she expects more savings to made on London’s Crossrail project above and beyond the £1.5bn trimmed from the scheme in October.
Crossrail was given the green light in October’s Comprehensive Spending Review after the project team knocked more than £1bn off the original £15.9bn cost.
But Villiers told the House of Commons yesterday that she expected to see more savings before the scheme gets final approval in the spring.
“Crossrail Ltd continues to work to achieve further savings in advance of the final review point for the project in spring next year. I expect to make a further update on progress then,” she said.
Villiers also said the detailed timetable for the introduction of services from 2018 still needed more work.
“We now expect that Crossrail services will commence from 2018. However, the detailed timetable for the phased introduction of Crossrail services requires additional work in a number of areas,” she said.
“For example, further work needs to take place on the transfer of services from existing franchises to the future Crossrail operations and the development of detailed plans on the commissioning of services,” she said.
Villiers said that Crossrail services were always planned to be phased into operation over “some months” and that it remains a priority for the government to ensure services are commissioned in the “most efficient possible way”.
Villiers also confirmed that the rephasing of work on the western tunnelled section was driven by the winning contractor consortium of Bam Nuttall, Ferrovial and Kier.
“Crossrail Ltd has been undertaking a programme of value engineering, risk avoidance and mitigation, alongside indirect cost reduction to ensure that the scheme is delivered in the most efficient way possible. In line with this approach, the government accepted an engineering-led solution to delivering the central section which has enabled substantial savings of around £1bn to the Crossrail funding package to be identified.
“While the construction programme for the central section will be lengthened by around a year, this has enabled the government to confirm that funding is available for the whole project,” she said.