Crossrail has confirmed today that it plans to open the central section of the Elizabeth line between Paddington and Abbey Wood in summer 2021.
The new projected timeline is earlier than the estimate Crossrail gave before Christmas of October 2021, but will still be two-and-a-half years later than originally planned.
The company admits that to achieve this opening date it will require intensive operational testing in 2020.
The entirety of the Crossrail project has overspent by almost £4bn as costs have risen to £18.25bn from an initial budget of £14.8bn.
Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild said: “I know that Londoners are deeply frustrated by the delays to the Elizabeth line and we are doing everything we can to get this railway finished and open.
“We continue to make good progress with the central section now reaching substantial completion and we are increasingly confident that Bond Street station will be ready to open with the rest of the railway.
“We have a comprehensive plan to complete the Elizabeth line and the milestones we must hit during 2020, including the testing of the signalling and train systems and safety assurance, but there are no shortcuts to delivery of this hugely complex railway.
“Our latest assessment is that Elizabeth line services through central London will commence in summer 2021 but we are aiming to open the railway as soon as we can.
“This forecast assumes a period of time will be required to undertake intensive operational testing.
“The key focus for everyone on the Crossrail project is commencing intensive testing of the Elizabeth line as soon as we can in 2020, to enable passenger service as early as possible in 2021.”
Picture courtesy of David Hawgood.