Crossrail Ltd has announced a nine-month delay to the opening of the Elizabeth line.
Under the original plans, the first services were to start running through London in December 2018.
However, Crossrail now say the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood will open in autumn 2019.
The organisation charged with delivering this huge, complex infrastructure scheme, say the postponement of opening is because of the need to complete the remaining infrastructure, while also ensuring extensive testing is carried out successfully.
This will guarantee the Elizabeth line is safe and reliable when it finally opens.
During the summer, the Minister of State for Transport revealed the project is 93% complete.
By that time, testing had started on the line, ironing out any glitches or errors.
However, it appears further time is needed.
This comes in the wake of the news that the project is nearly £600 million over budget.
To compound this news, it was also announced that extra funding is required.
As a result to increased costs, the scheme’s budget is now £15.4 billion – up from £14.8 billion.
Although much work has been put in to meet deadlines, more testing time is needed between Paddington and Abbey Wood.
This is the only way to guarantee the Elizabeth line is safe and reliable.
Testing time has been hit, Crossrail say, because more time has been needed on the fit-out of central tunnels.
This, and the need to develop railway systems software, means more time is needed to complete the full range of tests that are already underway.
Chief Executive, Simon Wright, explained the delay.
“The Elizabeth line is one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK and is now in its final stages.
“We have made huge progress with the delivery of this incredible project, but we need further time to complete the testing of the new railway.”
Once complete, the Elizabeth line will add 10% to central London’s rail capacity and boost the economy by £42 billion.