Rush to open Crossrail in central London “threatens delays outside the capital”

The rush to open the central section of Crossrail by March threatens to delay the deployment of the entire line, warned Sadiq Khan.

Travelers who use the line outside central London may have to wait longer to enjoy its benefits, according to Crossrail advisers.

The grand opening, a key feature of Mr Khan’s second term as mayor of London, “will effectively only be an intermediate step,” according to the engineering firm Jacobs.

For example, services to the popular suburban town of Shenfield will end at Liverpool Street in two months, while Crossrail trains from Reading and Heathrow will stop at Paddington.

The delays will also put additional strain on Transport for London’s already strained finances. The “significant revenue benefits” from collecting tariffs can only be unlocked after the project is fully completed, Jacobs said.

Originally slated to open in December 2018, Crossrail bosses have revised their schedule between January and June 2022. The program is now at risk of going over budget by around £ 5 billion.

The bosses want to open “Section 3” connecting Paddington and Abbey Wood in March. Jacobs’ warnings were first reported by a trade publication New civil engineer.

Jacobs concluded in his latest report that this timeline may leave “insufficient time” to complete Stage 5c, Crossrail’s final stage, before the current May 2023 deadline.

An intermediate stop, known as 5b, allowing Shenfield services to reach Paddington, but not Reading and Heathrow, is planned for the fall of this year.

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