Khan knew about de­lays to Cross­rail, ex-boss in­sists

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Oliver Gill

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.