Khan knew about delays to Crossrail, ex-boss insists
SADIQ KHAN, the Mayor of London, was made fully aware of crippling delays to Crossrail a month before he says he was told, the former boss of Europe’s biggest infrastructure project has insisted.
Sir Terry Morgan had claimed the mayor was informed on July 26, but Mr Khan has said he was not told about Crossrail delays at the meeting.
He has accused Sir Terry of “misremembering” discussions and said he was not told of the need to change the opening date until Aug 29.
However, the former Crossrail and HS2 boss told a London Assembly hearing yesterday: “I do not suffer from loss of memory. I don’t know what other interpretation there is of the presentation I gave the mayor on July 26. There was a very clear indication and understanding that we would not be able to deliver Crossrail in 2018.”
It marks an escalation in the war of words over the delays and cost overruns for the rail project. It was originally scheduled for completion in December, but last August the launch was delayed until this autumn. A review by new chief Mark Wild has concluded such a timetable was not viable. It is now feared that the line may not open until mid-2020 and could exceed the £15bn budget by almost £3bn.
Sir Terry also alleged that Transport for London attempted to hide the truth from the London leader. Officials erased parts of reports prepared for Mr Khan that contained references to testing problems, he claimed.
Under questioning from the London Assembly transport committee, Sir Terry accused TfL of deleting part of a weekly briefing note on June 19 that made a specific warning about testing issues without providing a reason.
In reference to the analysis for the mayor, a spokesman said: “TfL produced regular reports for the mayor, drafted with input from Crossrail Limited and London Underground’s Elizabeth line team. These were TfL’s reports and not those of Crossrail.”
Heidi Alexander, the former Labour MP who is now London deputy mayor, was questioned shortly after Sir Terry. She accused him of a “real resistance and a lack of realism”.
“This idea that on July 26 Sir Terry ruled out a December 2018 opening date is simply not true and it did not happen,” Ms Alexander said.
Sir Terry stepped down as chairman of both Crossrail and HS2 in December.
Known as the Elizabeth Line, Crossrail trains will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west through 13 miles of new tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
It is hoped the new line will connect Paddington with Canary Wharf in just 17 minutes.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, visiting Crossrail: he insists he was not told last July that the project would be delayed into 2019