The “best case scenario” would see Crossrail open in spring 2020
Crossrail may be delayed until 2021 due to issues that have emerged with dynamic testing, a source close to the project has told the BBC.
The £17.6bn project was due to open last December, but at the end of August 2018 it was revealed that Crossrail was running significantly behind schedule.
In December last year, a month after Mark Wild was named the new chief executive of Crossrail, the scheme’s co-sponsors said Crossrail would cost up to another £2bn to finish, while Wild said he had no idea when the scheme would be finished because there was so much work left to complete.
Now sources have told the BBC that testing is “proving more difficult than was first thought”.
The source said: “It all depends on how dynamic testing goes between now and the end of this year.”
“The last quarter of this year will be a critical period for the testing.”
The source said a “best case scenario” would see Crossrail open in spring 2020, while a “middle probability case” would be the summer of the same year.
The source said: “A worst case is the spring of 2021.”
In a letter sent to London Assembly transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon earlier this month Wild revealed that close-headway testing – which tests running trains close together – had fallen behind.
He said the testing, which was due to start more than three weeks ago on 18 March, had been pushed back until after Easter due to a “safety critical failure”. In his letter to Pidgeon, Wild did not spell out what this failure was.
In a statement, Crossrail said London needed the line to be “completed as quickly as possible and brought into service for passengers”.
“We are working very hard to finalise our new plan to deliver the opening at the earliest opportunity and we will be providing more details later this month.”