Crossrail train


23 April 2019

The central section of Crossrail should have opened in December 2018.


However, a series of failings have led to its delay and the launch has been pushed back to a mystery date, yet to be announced.


Today, the London Assembly Transport Committee releases the report  ‘Derailed: Getting Crossrail back on track’. The report analyses in detail the catalogue of factors which contributed to the delay and makes a series of recommendations to ensure that Crossrail can be completed successfully, and other major infrastructure projects avoid the same fate. 


The key findings are:

  • E-mails between Crossrail and Transport for London (TfL) suggest that communications to the Mayor were watered down by TfL Commissioner, Mike Brown, instead of flagging risks to the timetable early.
  • Significant concerns raised by the independent reviewer, as early as January 2018, were largely ignored
  • The desire to achieve the completion date overpowered any professional and critical assessment of risk.
  • The Crossrail Executive did not have the skills required at the later stages of the project to adequately assess and understand risks as they became apparent.

Some the recommendations are:

  • TfL’s Commissioner must reflect on whether he is fit to continue to fulfill his role in TfL.
  • The Mayor and TfL board must strengthen control over TfL and implement the necessary processes to allow them to remain fully informed and on top of the projects they are ultimately accountable for.
  • Crossrail and similar future projects should have systems that encourage transparency, openness and a sense of accountability on all levels.


The Chair of the Transport Committee, Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, said:


“It is a complete tragedy that one of the most highly anticipated engineering projects the world has ever seen has found itself in a mess of overspending, mismanagement and an embarrassingly long delay.


“Crossrail was supposed to be the beacon of modern 21st century engineering but its name is now tarnished with shame in the eyes of the London taxpayer who will have to foot the bill until its completion.


“The inability of senior figures in the project to push past their obsession with a December 2018 launch date is one of the main reasons why their dream did not become a reality.


“As a result, thousands of people who have invested in areas around Crossrail stations or those with small businesses have had to deal with longer commutes and major revenue losses.


“It is shameful that nobody at a senior level is willing to take responsibility for the failure of the project thus far. Crossrail’s former chairman, Sir Terry Morgan stepped down, however, the evidence suggests that TfL Commissioner, Mike Brown, was at the centre of decisions to dilute important information sent to the Mayor.


“Crossrail will provide immeasurable benefits to London, once launched but vital lessons must be learned by the Mayor, TfL and Crossrail so we all can bring this sorry chapter of the project’s journey to a close.”

Notes to editors

  1. The report is attached below.
  2. Watch a video on how the Crossrail delay has affected local people in Abbey Wood here.
  3. Correspondence between the Mayor and the Transport Committee.
  4. Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, Chair of the Transport Committee, is available for interview – see contact details below.
  5. London Assembly Transport Committee.
  6. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.


For media enquiries, please contact Funmi Olutoye on 020 7084 2713.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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