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- By Andy Smith
The Crossrail board has confirmed that it needs needs another £1.1bn to complete the delayed rail project, meaning the total cost is set to top £19bn.
Crossrail bosses have confirmed that the new track, known as the Elizabeth Line, will not be ready until 2022, more than three years after its original scheduled opening date of December 2018.
The central section, which runs between Paddington in west London and Abbey Wood in the east, had been due to open next summer. But last month Crossrail confirmed that due to the coronavirus pandemic, this deadline was “no longer achievable” after construction halted in March.
The latest update from the Crossrail board states that the cost to complete the project could be £1.1bn more than the agreed financing package, agreed in 2018, and £450m more than estimates given in November 2019.
Crossrail is now expected to be more than £4bn over its original budget.
Mark Wild, Crossrail chief executive, said: “We have a comprehensive plan to complete the railway and we are striving to commence intensive operational testing for the Elizabeth line, known as trial running, at the earliest opportunity.”
Crossrail said it intends to begin operational testing in 2021 before moving on to a final phase, which involves testing the service with a small number of passengers.