On 31st August 2018, the announcement was made by TFL (Transport For London) that the long awaited “Elizabeth Line” (aka Crossrail) would now not be opening through London in December. The new date has been pencilled in as “summer/autumn” 2019. This has been rumoured for the last few months, as stations really didn’t look that ready during the summer “open” days.
Most business’ in London affected by the building work were hoping for the December 2018 opening, in order for them to reap the benefits of the new line to their Christmas trade. Many are understandably upset, this news coming only 3 months away. Moreover, TFL themselves were hoping for the cash injection which the new line would bring, and the loss of revenue here may affect their profit projection, although actual figures are very hard to track down. The widely reported £600 million overspend on the project is unfortunate, but Crossrail is certainly not the first major construction project to be over budget.
It is regrettable that there is to be a delay in opening the core part of the line. As well as the obvious cosmetic delays at the stations, signalling is also being highlighted as a problem area. It is also quite possible that the problems encountered by Thameslink and Northern in May of this year have ‘spooked’ the rail industry so much, that another potential embarrassing moment was to be keenly avoided.
I do have a lot of sympathy with the businesses, particularly the small ones, along the route which will be affected by this decision. Hopefully they will be able to continue trading until the line fully opens next year, when they should begin to see the benefits of a world class transit system.
Crossrail (Elizabeth line) is a necessary line for London and the surrounding areas. The current underground system, although significantly upgraded, will not be able to expand to the levels required by an ever expanding London. Speedy, direct trains from Heathrow to the Canary Wharf district via major inner London destinations will be crucial to allow London to continue to be a draw for major investors.
So in conclusion, as annoying and disruptive as this is, the Crossrail project is going to be late. It is coming with an overspend, and possible financial hardship along its route. But when it does eventually open, London will have a transit system fit for the 21st century, and hopefully London residents and business’ (big and small) will reap the benefits from it.
That’s all for now, thanks for reading and I’ll blog again soon.