Crossrail reveals new opening date of late 2020/early 2021

Crossrail have finally given a revised date for opening the central section under London and it’s bad news. A not very specific “six-month delivery window with a midpoint at the end of 2020” is stated.

The central section is the Paddington to Abbey Wood section via Canary Wharf.

The service was of course due to begin in late 2018. It was then delayed to late 2019. This adds another year’s delay on top.

Crossrail trains stored at Abbey Wood station

The London Assembly released a damning report into failings yesterday with TfL’s chief exec Mike Brown refusing to stand down today.

This will no doubt frustrate and anger many people who moved, changed job or have businesses reliant upon the line opening.

It will also lead to severe strain on other transport networks such as the tube, Southeastern and the DLR. The DLR, for example, is seeing over 3,000 homes being built by Pontoon Dock alone. Crossrail was supposed to alleviate pressures. The same will exist at Woolwich as towers become inhabited.

New Woolwich towers

It makes the continual delays to Southeastern even more problematic as any new trains there are pushed ever back.

Mark Wild, Chief Executive, Crossrail Ltd, states: “I share the frustration of Londoners that the huge benefits of the Elizabeth line are not yet with us. But this plan allows Crossrail Ltd and its contractors to put the project back on track to deliver the Elizabeth line. Crossrail is an immensely complex project and there will be challenges ahead particularly with the testing of the train and signalling systems but the Elizabeth line is going to be incredible for London and really will be worth the wait. This new plan will get us there and allow this fantastic new railway to open around the end of next year.”

Tony Meggs, Chairman, Crossrail Ltd said: “Both the Crossrail Board and the Crossrail leadership team fully recognise the seriousness of the challenges we face. The Crossrail Board is pleased with the progress by the new Crossrail leadership team to get a grip on the project and pull together a robust and realistic plan to complete the Elizabeth line. An enhanced governance structure has been put in place to strengthen the Crossrail programme. The Crossrail Board will be holding the leadership team to account as they work to complete the railway. We will be open and transparent about our progress and will be providing Londoners and London businesses with regular updates as we seek to rebuild trust with all our stakeholders.”

Everyone involved in the Crossrail project is fully focused on ensuring the Elizabeth line is completed as quickly as possible and brought into service for passengers. At many stations, work is underway to complete the final fit-out and testing of key systems. Each Elizabeth line station has over 50 km of communications cabling, 200 CCTV cameras, 66 information displays, 200 radio antennas, 750 loudspeakers and 50 help points. All this technology needs to be fully installed, tested and integrated.

Dynamic testing of the trains in the tunnels is now underway with intensive work to increase the reliability of the train software to enable trains to successfully operate across the three signalling systems on the Elizabeth line. Trains have been operating at line speed (100 kph / 62 mph) in the central section using the new automatic signalling system and multi-train testing will soon get underway.”


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I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

5 thoughts on “Crossrail reveals new opening date of late 2020/early 2021

  • Is the project late or is it just taking longer than expected? When complete I think the construction team should be congratulated in creating this massive piece of engineering. With immense projects like this you never really know what problems you may stumble across during the construction process, just like the Channel Tunnel.

  • Que Será, Será?

    Who picks up the tab?

    Who is accountable?

    What is the financial cost to communities like AW?

    It looks like the engineering was great, the electronics and computing poorly thought through. Why?

    I just hate the thought of two more years of winter months waiting at platform 1 at ABW in the morning, train late, icy wind and probably no heating on my 25 year old train.

    Que Será, Será

  • To say I’m disappointed is an understatement, this is a total shambles, it should have been open last year. I don’t mind partialy finished stations if it means we have a service that can be used in a few months time. Some serious questions need to be asked…
    On Saturday we were in Central London got the Central line to Shoreditch. It should have been a 10 minute walk to Liverpool St & Crossrail, instead we had to get a cab to Abbeywood. Ridiculous

    • You can’t get the Central line to Shoreditch. The closest you can get is Liverpool Street from where there are plenty of buses to London Bridge with trains to the suburbs. Getting a cab all the way to Abbey Wood is the ridiculous thing here.

      Crossrail is a major undertaking and whilst you can cut through rock and lay track, it’s the software on which the trains will rely.

  • If nothing else, this should, once and for all, put an end to the idea that a target-led culture is a useful concept.


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