Project now down by £174m up from previous estimate of £150m, boss tells MPs

Crossrail’s funding shortfall has widened, a letter to the Public Accounts Committee has revealed.

The letter, which Crossrail boss Mark Wild sent to committee chair Meg Hillier last month, said the anticipated cost of finishing the central section of the railway was £174m more than the £825m the project was handed in the last government bailout.

This gap had previously thought to have been around the £150m mark.

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Source: Crossrail Ltd

Testing earlier this spring has involved mass passenger evacuations including those at Paddington last month

Wild said: “The current…anticipated final Crossrail direct cost, which represents the median value scenario, is £15.96bn. This is £174m above the additional funding of £825m which was made available to the programme in December 2020.

"The requirement for up to an additional £1.1bn in funding, as declared by the outgoing Crossrail board in August 2020, remains consistent with current estimates at higher levels of probability."

Wild also said that as of 5 February, Crossrail had drawn down £738m of the additional funding, covering commitments over a number of future periods, including securing resources for the remainder of the programme.

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Details around the increased shortfall were expanded upon in the latest report from project representative Jacobs.

The firm said the increase was partially attributable to cost issues at Bond Street station.

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Source: Crossrail Ltd

Farringdon station will be one of the busiest on the route

In response, Crossrail said budget issues at Bond Street could not be offset with current risk and provisions.

In his letter to Hillier, which was published last week, Wild also maintained that the central section of the scheme that runs between Abbey Wood in the east and Paddington in the west, which was originally due to open in December 2018, would be open in the first half of this year.

This means passenger services are expected to start in the next nine weeks.

Trains will not call at Bond Street, which will not enter service until three months after the rest of the central section.