Crossrail turns 20 with Elizabeth Line headaches
Crossrail, the company set up 20 years ago to build the Elizabeth line to ease pressure on London’s existing Underground network, is struggling to deliver on the project. The line was due to be completed in 2018, but the central section is now not expected to open until "the first half of 2022."
The BBC reported in Oct 2020 that the Crossrail board said in July that the line’s central section, from Paddington to Abbey Wood, was not expected to be ready until "the first half of 2022." With that delay, the inauguration of full service along the entire 60-mile line might stretch into 2023 or 2024.
When the line, named after Queen Elizabeth II and described as Europe’s most ambitious tunneling and engineering project, is fully complete it will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west through central tunnels across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. Most of the line will run above ground, but a 13-mile stretch runs under central London. All 70 of the company’s new trains will be in operation with the full introduction of Elizabeth line services.
In May 2017 the company took over Heathrow Connect, the existing stopping service between Heathrow and Paddington.
The new service is designed to ease pressure on the existing Underground network, particularly the busy Central and District lines, but also the Jubilee link to Heathrow Airport.
Crossrail Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), and is jointly sponsored by TfL and the Department for Transport.