08/11/2019 10:12 GMT

Crossrail Won't Open Until 2021 And Could Cost £650m More Than Planned

The Elizabeth Line was originally due to open in 2018, putting the project approximately three years behind schedule.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters
Crossrail will not open until 2021, the company's boss has confirmed. 

Crossrail will not open next year, the chief executive behind the firm delivering the project has confirmed. 

Mark Wild, who runs Crossrail Ltd, insisted on Friday that services on London’s new east-west railway would begin “as soon as practically possible in 2021”. 

The new route, which has already been bailed out numerous and will run over budget by £400m to £650m, was initially set to be completed in 2018. 

The cost of the railway could now reach £18.25bn, bosses have said. 

Wild had previously announced that the railway would open between October 2020 and March 2021. 

In a statement published on Friday morning, Wild said: “Our detailed cost forecasts continue to show that the project’s costs will increase due to programme risks and uncertainties. The latest projections indicate a range of between £400m to £650m more than the revised funding agreed by the mayor, government and Transport for London in December 2018.

“We are doing everything we can to complete the Elizabeth line as quickly as we can but there are no short-cuts to delivering this hugely complex railway. The Elizabeth line must be completed to the highest safety and quality standards.”

Crossrail have confirmed that passengers will receive a fresh update on the planned opening of the line “early in 2020”. 

The latest update confirms that Custom House, Farringdon, and Tottenham Court Road stations will be complete by the end of 2019, and the central section of the route would be “substantially complete” by spring 2020 – with the exception of Bond Street and Whitechapel “where work will continue”.

Fears that the line wouldn’t be completed until 2021 were made apparent in April – despite Crossrail Ltd already receiving three bailout payments