The Department for Transport (DfT) has signed off a £350 million loan to help cover the rising cost of Crossrail.
A statement from Rail Minister Jo Johnson published on the DfT website said that, while discussions were ongoing with Transport for London (TfL), the capital would have to bear the additional cost caused by the delayed opening.
Crossrail announced at the end of August that it wouldn’t be finished in time to meet its planned December opening, blaming delays with testing and unfinished stations. The central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood will be open by autumn 2019, according to the revised timetable.
The £350 million ‘short-term repayable financing’ is described as an interim measure to “ensure that full momentum is maintained behind Crossrail”.
Johnson confirmed that TfL and the DfT have commissioned an independent review of Crossrail’s governance and a separate review of Crossrail’s finance and commercial position.
Despite the delay, Johnson was still optimistic about the wider social and economic benefits of the £15 billion scheme.
“This project is already delivering benefits for the whole of the UK through its cross-country supply chain and its UK-built train fleet.
“When open, Crossrail will be transformative and carry up to 200 million passengers a year, delivering £42 billion of investment into the UK economy.”
Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, felt the announcement, although welcome, was “only a sticking plaster to keep the project going”.
She added: “Londoners need to know what work is left to open the line, how much this will cost and ultimately who will pick up the tab.
“This is a joint project with government and all partners need to pay their fair share.”