Call for Government bailout to complete Elizabeth line works

A further Government bailout will be needed to complete the next phase of the Elizabeth Line, a senior representative from Transport for London has said.

The central section of the £18.8 billion scheme opened in May, providing a new line from London Paddington across Central London to Abbey Wood station.

The next phase of the scheme is expected to open in the autumn, meaning passengers from Maidenhead will be able to travel directly into central London without changing at Paddington.

But a senior representative from Transport for London warned a meeting of the London Assembly on Thursday that further funding is needed for the project to continue.

In December 2020, the Department for Transport provided a £825 million loan to keep the Crossrail scheme on track but this is not expected to be enough.

Patrick Doig, group finance director at TfL, said: “When Andy Byford took over as commissioner for Transport for London and took on the responsibility of delivering Crossrail he made two promises.

“Firstly, the central section would open in the first half of this year and the additional funding required would not exceed the £1.1 billion that the outgoing Crossrail board identified.”

He added: “At the moment, of that £1.1 billion identified we only have £825million that is funded and that was the last funding package that was put together by Crossrail which didn’t meet the estimated final cost.

“We are driving really hard to keep the funding requirement within that £825 million.

“However, I think it’s unlikely we’ll be able to get there.”

The Crossrail project initially had a budget of £15.9 billion when funding plans were drawn up back in October 2007.

The scheme has since been beset by rising costs and delays.

Mr Doig added: “It will come to a point later this summer where we need clarity on that additional funding to allow the project to continue and it’s something we need to resolve by about September.

“Otherwise the project will not have the funds authorised to complete the rest of the scheme so it’s becoming an urgent issue.

“We are in positive discussions and I do believe we’ll be able to resolve this given the importance of finishing the scheme.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “A full £200 million of the funding package we provided in December 2020 is still available, and we are pushing the Commissioner to complete the project with this amount.”

A TfL spokesperson added: “Our position on funding, as communicated in August 2020 has not changed. The outgoing Crossrail Board’s cost estimates showed that the project could need up to a further £1.1 billion for completion.

“Additional funding of £825m was made available at the end of 2020 and we are working hard to manage costs and risks to deliver the complete railway within this available funding. If any further funding is required, however, we will explore all options for how this would be met.”

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