Crossrail still set for December completion despite cost pressures and testing issues

Crossrail Ltd has drawn up a revised delivery schedule to ensure Europe’s largest infrastructure project meets December’s key deadline as Transport for London (TfL) board papers reveal that a “significant amount of work remains” despite 90% of the network being completed.

In a report update, TfL commissioner Mike Brown confirmed that Crossrail was “actively managing the increased cost and schedule pressures” to ensure the Elizabeth Line opened later this year. He said the organisation was “actively monitoring and escalating concerns at the highest level” to the companies involved in the construction process to ensure the project was on time.

TfL board papers also note how the 'Beast from the East' which swept the country at the start of the month had disrupted work within tunnel sections after it caused a frozen water main. But TfL has been keen to point out the bad weather had not had any major impacts on contractors and the work they are carrying out.

Testing problems and design issues have been highlighted as the main reasons for a revised delivery schedule. Last month it was revealed an “explosion” during the powering up of a new sub-station on the Crossrail network has pushed back plans by three months. It occurred during testing last November at a sub-station at Pudding Mill Lane as engineers attempted to energise the system. 

Crossrail Ltd is continuing to actively manage the increased cost and schedule pressures and has developed a revised delivery schedule."
TfL commissioner Mike Brown.

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan said the explosion could not have been prevented as factory-built transformers which caused the fault were designed incorrectly.

Despite the problems, Crossrail bosses remain confident on achieving the December deadline. A spokesperson for the organisation said the project “remains on time” and it continues to “manage increasing cost and schedule pressures”.

Commenting on Crossrail's progress, Brown said: “Overall, the project is now more than 90% complete. Crossrail Ltd is continuing to actively manage the increased cost and schedule pressures and has developed a revised delivery schedule that sets out the programme to achieve opening of the Elizabeth Line in December 2018 and completion of the full service in December 2019. This prioritises delivery of systems (including communications, ventilation and platform screen doors) that are critical to the operational railway.”

The TfL commissioner has also said the rail network achieved energisation in the eastern part of the tunnels on 1 February 2018 and dynamic testing using the new rolling stock began on 25 February 2018. As work continues to progress before proposed handover to TfL in July, Farringdon and Tottenham Court Road stations are said to be nearing physical completion, while Bond Street and Liverpool Street, have more work left to complete.

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