Caroline Pidgeon: A decade spent scrutinising Crossrail


Caroline Pidgeon knows Crossrail inside out after scrutinising the project for a decade and grilling its key players for London’s transport committee. She speaks to Jordan Marshall about exactly what has gone wrong, why the delay is so frustrating and lessons to be learned

Watching the rain roll in across London from the seventh floor of City Hall, it feels like an appropriately dreary backdrop for an in-depth conversation about the dire state of Crossrail. Across the desk in her office at the London Assembly is Caroline Pidgeon, transport committee deputy chair, who has been following the project more forensically than maybe anybody else.

The meeting is taking place in the first week of January, just as Crossrail’s board is gathering to discuss its latest projected opening date for the £18bn project’s central section – later confirmed to be summer 2021 – a sadly all-too familiar situation. The scheme, which is backed by co-sponsors the Department for Transport (DfT)and Transport for London (TfL), is once again, to everyone’s dismay, late and over budget.

“It will be an amazing scheme that genuinely changes lives,” Pidgeon says. “That is part of the frustration.”

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