Sadiq Khan plays down hopes of a Christmas opening for Crossrail

Sadiq Khan plays down hopes of a Christmas opening for Crossrail

Hopes of a Christmas opening for London's troubled Crossrail project appeared dashed today when Sadiq Khan said next year was more realistic.

Transport commissioner Andy Byford has promised to deliver the delayed £19bn underground railway by a revised deadline of June 30th, 2022.

In December he told ITV News 'we're aiming to do earlier' and recent newspaper reports suggested Christmas 2021 was achievable.

One of the platforms for the new Elizabeth Line at Woolwich station

But the mayor appeared to dismiss a Christmas opening when he appeared before London Assembly members."I'd be pleasantly surprised if the central section of Crossrail was open by December," Sadiq Khan said.

"I think a much more realistic opening time frame is the first half of next year as TfL have consistently said since last summer. I know the commissioner Andy Byford and the Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild have tasked the team with delivering as soon as possible.

"I'd be worried if my commissioner wasn't pushing the team to go further and faster but I think the most likely outcome at this stage is an opening in the first six months of 2022", Mr Khan added.The rail line linking Reading, Berkshire and Heathrow Airport with Shenfield, Essex and Abbey Wood, south London was originally due to be opened by the Queen in December 2018.