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Crossrail ‘needs extra £80m to avoid being mothballed’, TfL chief reportedly warns Government

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 21/11/2020 Luke O'Reilly

Crossrail urgently needs an extra £80m in funding to stay on track, according to reports.

Andy Byford, the London transport commissioner, has written to the permanent secretary at the Department for Transport (DfT) seeking the release of new Government funding for the long delayed project, Sky News reported.

Mr Byford reportedly warned that the project faces being "mothballed" unless the funding is agreed soon.

"If agreement is not reached this week, we will have no option but to mothball the project and to seek alternative governance for its eventual completion," the letter said, according to Sky's sources.

"I sincerely hope that we can avoid such a Doomsday scenario."

Sadiq Khan wearing a helmet: TfL is now in charge of CrossrailPA Archive/PA Images © Provided by Evening Standard

TfL is now in charge of Crossrail

PA Archive/PA Images

When contacted by The Evening Standard a spokesperson for TfL would not deny the reports.

Instead, they said: “TfL, the GLA and Government all continue to have discussions around the additional funding needed to complete the Crossrail project".


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As it moved from the construction phase to the operational phase, direct control of Crossrail was handed over to TfL, which will be the operator and maintainer of the railway.

a subway train at night: The troubled line was originally expected to open in December 2018PA Archive/PA Images © Provided by Evening Standard

The troubled line was originally expected to open in December 2018

PA Archive/PA Images

The troubled line, from Berkshire to Essex via central London, was originally expected to open in December 2018 but repeated delays have pushed it back.

An update from Crossrail Ltd at the end of August said the opening of the railway, which will be called the Elizabeth Line, was to be delayed again until the first half of 2022.

Covid-19 is one of the reasons behind the new delay, the team said, with social distancing meaning that a maximum of 2,000 people are now allowed on Crossrail sites, which is less than 50% of the staffing levels before the pandemic.

A Government spokesperson said: “The Government remains committed to the efficient completion of the project, in a way that is fair to UK taxpayers, and that ensures London - as the primary beneficiary of Crossrail – bears the additional costs.  

“We are working with the Greater London Authority and Transport for London to develop a funding solution to see Crossrail’s completion.”  

“It is unfortunate, in contrast to other construction projects, the Mayor chose to unnecessarily halt work on Crossrail during the pandemic.”

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