Crossrail chief executive to step down after seven years

As London’s Crossrail project fast approaches its scheduled completion date, its been announced that its chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme will step down after seven years leading the major infrastructure project.

The rail operator has confirmed Wolstenholme is preparing to take up a new role in the private sector before its completion, yet details of the position are unknown and will be announced at a later date by his new employer.

He is set to be replaced by current programme director Simon Wright who will lead the project in a combined role as chief executive and programme director. 

Sir Terry Morgan, Crossrail’s chairman paid tribute to the role Wolstenholme has played in his time. “I would like to thank Andrew Wolstenholme for the phenomenal contribution he has made to the Crossrail project over the last seven years,” he said. "Andrew has overseen the project’s major construction phase including 42km of new tunnels, ten new stations and the installation of systems that will support the operation of the new railway.

"He has steered the project with a relentless focus on safety and in a way that delivers wider benefits to the UK in innovation, skills and environmental performance. Andrew leaves the team well placed to finish the remaining construction activity and commence infrastructure testing to finish the job, ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth line.”

Important milestones in the Crossrail project:

  • May 2018: Trains start operating from Heathrow to Paddington 
  • December 2018: Trains start operating from Paddington to Abbey Wood
  • May 2019: Trains start operating from Paddington to Shenfield
  • December 2019: Full service 

Commenting on the announcement, chief executive of the Association of Consultancy and Engineering, Nelson Ogunshakin, said: “The industry should join me in congratulating Andrew for all of his great work in moving the Crossrail project from conception to construction phase. We hope the industry has encouraged him to stay within the sector and that he’ll help to deliver the next stage of our national project pipeline, as a man of his skills, talent and experience will be sorely missed. Whatever he has lined up for the future, we wish him all the best.”

The £14.8bn project is now reaching the final stages with bosses saying the network is 90% complete. Crossrail is set to handover over the project to Transport for London in July for operational testing, ahead of opening in December 2018. Vital testing has also begun with the first train driven down the tunnels from Abbey Wood at the end of February. 

The testing run is the first of hundreds that will take place between now and December on the line which will serve 41 stations and stretch across more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west through tunnels in central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

If you would like to contact Ryan Tute about this, or any other story, please email