The Elizabeth line has reached its complex final stages with Crossrail Ltd working to complete the remaining infrastructure so it can fully test the railway and successfully transition the project as an operational railway to Transport for London (TfL).
The process to handover the completed rail infrastructure is underway, with Crossrail Ltd planning to start intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity in 2021. This marks the project’s key transition from construction to an operational railway.
To align with this next phase of the programme the responsibility for the governance of the Crossrail programme will now move to sit directly with TfL.
TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT), joint sponsors of Crossrail, have worked closely with Crossrail Ltd to agree the transition plan to move the project to TfL. This ensures that decision making between Crossrail Ltd and TfL is seamless and fully aligned during the critical final phases of the programme as the operational testing is undertaken and the remaining parts of the railway are completed and transferred to TfL.
The transition will simplify responsibilities, with a single Elizabeth Line Delivery Group comprised of senior members of TfL, London Underground and Crossrail Ltd, under the Chairmanship of Transport Commissioner Andy Byford. Under the new arrangements Crossrail Chief Executive Officer, Mark Wild, will report directly to Andy Byford.
High-level oversight will be provided by a Special Purpose Committee of the TfL Board to be known as the Elizabeth Line Committee; this Committee will meet in public every eight weeks and include members of the TfL Board; it will also be attended by a special representative from the DfT as joint sponsor of the project and given its national significance.
Crossrail ‘magnificent addition to London network’
Andy Byford, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “I would like to thank Crossrail Chair Tony Meggs and the Crossrail Board who have led the delivery of this vital project through the remaining construction and systems testing to a point where increased testing of trains in the central tunnels will begin shortly. As it gets closer to becoming an operational railway the time is right for the responsibility for Crossrail to transfer to TfL and the people who will run it. Mark Wild and his team will now work with me to safely achieve the earliest possible opening date for what will be a magnificent addition to London’s transport network.”
Tony Meggs CB, Chair, Crossrail Ltd said: “As the Elizabeth line moves into its final phases we have always planned that the governance of Crossrail would transition into TfL, and now we are executing that plan. The new structures will simplify and align decision making over the coming months as the railway is brought to completion and commences intensive operational testing. I am very pleased that, in addition to the Crossrail executive team, a number of our highly experienced Non-Executive Directors will continue to provide their support and expertise to the programme under the new governance arrangements; this continuity is vital. It has been a privilege to have served as Crossrail Chair since January 2019. This is truly one of the greatest transport programmes in Europe today, and it will transform the lives of many people for generations to come.”
Transport for London, the GLA and government continue to have constructive discussions around the additional funding needed to complete the Crossrail project.
The news comes over a month after the Crossrail board announced the project will be delayed until the first half of 2022 and may need an extra £450m to complete.
The latest cost estimate shows the completion of the Crossrail project could be up to £1.1bn above the financial package agreed in December 2018, £450m more than upper end of the range announced in November 2019.