Crossrail boss challenges London’s mayor over when he knew about project delay

Crossrail boss Sir Terry Morgan today challenged London’s mayor over his version of events leading up to the line’s postponed opening.

Sadiq Khan has repeatedly said he only learned of the delayed launch in August but Sir Terry says he told the mayor a month earlier.

I told the mayor on July 26 that the [Crossrail] programme was no longer feasible in terms of being delivered in 2018.

The reaction from the mayor was entirely as you would expect which was - you have to find a solution to allow it to open in 2018.

But, it was very clear at that stage we'd already looked at what was feasible and the recommendation of myself and more importantly the chief executive was that this programme was not deliverable in 2018.

– Sir Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman

The £15bn east-west rail link was due to open next Sunday but unfinished stations and signalling problems have put back the launch until next Autumn.

The project needed a £650m government bailout in July and a further £300m last month. The final bill is expected to rise.

The Mayor has been clear that he discussed rising cost and schedule pressures with Crossrail Ltd over the summer, including looking at the implications if these issues weren’t resolved.

At the meeting at the end of July it was clear that the opening date was at high risk of being missed but it was not until the end of August that the Mayor, TfL and the DfT were told that the opening of the central section would definitely be delayed until Autumn 2019 – something the Mayor has not hidden his anger and disappointment about.

The Mayor has been open with Government about his concerns in relation to Crossrail governance for months. The Deputy Mayor for Transport and TfL Commissioner spoke directly to Terry Morgan about his position in September. The leadership of Crossrail is a joint decision with Government - as it's a joint project. But if it had been down to the Mayor, the matter would have been resolved long before now.

– Spokesperson for the Mayor of London