Railway bosses confirm station will only be ready some time after rest on central section of line
Crossrail chair Tony Meggs has said delays to the £19bn railway’s Bond Street station are in part down to Costain and Skanska and their “less than perfect performance” on the job.
The problem station, which is the only terminus on the line which is not ready for the next stage of testing, was being built by the pair before the two firms pulled out of the job in a mutual agreement with Crossrail two months ago.
A spokesperson for the joint venture, known as CSJV, said at the time that the job had been “uniquely affected by the covid-19 crisis” due to the number of workers required on site to complete the station.
It was backed up by a spokesman for Crossrail, who said that the change had come about following a covid-19 review.
But in a grilling by the All-Party Parliamentary Rail Group, which consists of MPs and Lords from across parliament, Meggs admitted that one of the reasons for the delays to the beleaguered station was “to be frank, less than perfect contractor performance”.
He told the committee: “There are three issues on Bond Street. One is that it was late starting because all of the tunnelling that allowed it to begin was itself late. Secondly, for some reason it is a very complex design. For technical reasons there is complexity in the station and the design of the station. Thirdly, and to be frank, less than perfect contractor performance on that station.
“We have engineered the railway and the handover process as such that Bond Street itself cannot hold up the station completion process because we didn’t want any single station to hold up the railway.
“The way this railway was designed was that nothing could open until everything was open. We have redesigned that such that we can open the central section without Bond Street if we need to, if it is not ready in time. Indeed, that is also true for other stations as well.”
Earlier in the same session, Crossrail deputy chair Nick Raynsford admitted it was “not feasible” that Bond Street will open at the same time as the line’s other central London stations, which are currently due to begin passenger services in the first half of 2022.
He told the committee: “[It] has still got a long way to go and we do not think at the moment that it is going to be feasible to open Bond Street station at the same time as the others.”
But he added that Crossrail bosses expect the station to be at a state where trial running of trains can begin early next year.
The admission follows a letter sent to London Assembly transport committee chair Alison Moore earlier this month by Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild which revealed that there is “a possibility” that the line’s central section would open without Bond Street.
Crossrail had warned in November last year that the station would not open with the rest of the line, before Wild announced later that month that it was “increasingly likely” the station would be ready in time.
In August Crossrail said the project would be £1.1bn over budget and completed up to three and a half years late.