Rail bosses’ four-point plan to get Crossrail back on track – new launch date is late 2020

COMMUTERS in Twyford will have to wait more than a year before they can get on track to a high-speed train link to London.

Crossrail has confirmed that the £15.9bn project – renamed the Elizabeth Line – linking has been delayed again with a projected launch late in 2020.

The route from Reading which includes Twyford will not open until after the central section in the capital is completed next summer.

The delay on Europe’s most ambitious and complex infrastructure could be even longer with some estimates pushing the finishing date until 2021.

Rail bosses have been embarrassed by a series of delays and missed targets. The project should have opened last December.

They have now drawn up a four-point plan which they say will put the massive scheme back on target.

This includes new signalling software to integrate the train operating system with three different signalling systems.

It is hoped this will enable stations including Twyford to be integrated with the rest of the railway and allow trial runs of the new trains and carriages.

Mark Wild, chief executive of Crossrail, said: “I share the frustration of commuters 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, the chairman of Crossrail Ltd, added: “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.”

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