London’s newest railway line is set to open to the public within the next four months after an almost 14-year wait. Crossrail – to be branded as ‘the Elizabeth line ‘ will run through Central London and link the existing lines in the east and west.
Initially, trains will run in three separate sections, with trains expected to run all the way from Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, through Central London, out to Heathrow Airport and Reading in the west.
Although the Elizabeth line project team has managed to catch up on massive construction delays and stem a ballooning budget to £19 billion, there is one station that will not be ready to open on day one, Transport for London (TfL)’s commissioner Andy Byford has confirmed.
Speaking at London Assembly’s Transport Committee yesterday (January 9), the man in charge of London’s public transport system said: “It won’t open concurrent with the line opening. I don’t want to hold up line opening for one station, but it won’t be far behind.”
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Andy Byford, commissioner for Transport for London, confirmed that the opening of the one station would be delayed
Bond Street station has been plagued with technical challenges in its construction due to the density of underground infrastructure around it. There have also been numerous issues with contractors, with the main one being ditched in 2020. In January, a report submitted to TfL confirmed the station had been ‘decoupled’ from the rest of the line’s opening which led to speculation that the station would not appear on day one, but this is the first time a TfL manager has confirmed this in public.
Expert brought out of retirement to help
Mr Byford explained that he had to coax a friend of his from his previous job in Toronto, a world expert in station construction, out of retirement to help him guide the Crossrail team in catching up on the mammoth construction backlog. He now estimates that Bond Street is now “three months behind” the rest of the line, being around “18 months” at the height of the problems.
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The station – which will continue to be served by the London Underground Central and Jubilee lines – will remain open as it waits for Elizabeth line services to join them. From day one until it is finally certified for opening, Elizabeth line trains will skip the station, running non-stop from Tottenham Court Road to Paddington.
The giant, cathedral-sized station will have a new entrance on Hanover Square that allows it to also help decongest the busy Oxford Circus station. In this respect, the Elizabeth line is expected to massively help ease crowding on the Central line. Among the other points raised at the Transport Committee meeting were the implications on the Central line from Elizabeth line opening, which include making the current 1992 Central line trains run for longer than initially intended and changing resources allocated to the line, given the expected decrease in passengers.
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