Crossrail To Get £1.4 Billion Bailout

By Holly Brockwell on at

Surprising nobody who's ever worked on a large-scale project with lots of stakeholders, Crossrail is going to be very late and very over budget.

The Elizabeth Line, as it's now officially known, will receive a bailout of £1,400,000,00 – 1.4 billion pounds. That's the third time this year it's been flushed with cash to try and keep the whole thing afloat.

The Elizabeth Line was originally due to open this month, but as the new tube map with the conspicuous absence of purple line illuminates, it missed that deadline. It's also going to miss the Autumn 2019 deadline that we were told would be the new launch date back in August.

Somewhat wisely, a new date hasn't been announced this time: the BBC reports that Crossrail stated that "a new 'robust and deliverable schedule' would be announced later."

The project is apparently about £600m short right now, which is a bit disappointing considering it got £590m in July and a £350m loan announced in October. Consultants from KPMG reckon it'll cost between £1.6bn and £2bn to get the whole thing finished, and Transport for London will lose £20m of lost ticket sales in the meantime.

The £1.4bn bailout is pretty significant considering the whole budget was £15bn.

The project is absolutely worth seeing through to completion: it'll boost travel capacity in central London by 10%, which is huge. It's just that as with every giant project, it's been slower, harder, and more expensive than anyone expected. The Crossrail team should probably have watched Grand Designs before they submitted the estimates – it always goes like this.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said the bailout is so that the new leaders on the project "can get the job done." You can almost hear the sigh.

On the bright side, we've got Elizabeth Line trains running already on the Shenfield-Liverpool Street route in the East, and Paddington-Hayes & Harlington in the West. It's also not going to be more expensive to ride than normal tube trains, which is nice.

Will Elizabeth still even be monarch when her namesake line properly opens? Your guess is as good as ours.