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Khan accused Crossrail of governance 'failing'

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was “extremely angry” at how the delay to Crossrail was revealed and accused its management of a governance “failing” at a Transport for London board meeting.

Minutes from the meeting in September revealed that the mayor criticised how Crossrail had reported progress to TfL.

“I am extremely frustrated, disappointed and angry at the delay,” Mr Khan said.

He added: “What makes me angry is the length of the delay and how late in the project it was confirmed.

“Even as late as 25 July at the TfL board meeting, the board were given no clarity on the delivery timetable.”

He went on to claim that the length of delay, which saw completion pushed back nine months to autumn 2019, demonstrated a “failing in Crossrail Limited’s governance and how they assessed and reported on the project’s status”.

Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan also expressed “huge disappointment” over the delay and for “letting people down”, the minutes said.

He presented an explanation of how the completion date for the £15.4bn line had changed in a short space of time.

Sir Terry told the meeting that in July, Crossrail had been confident of opening the line on time in December – and had secured £300m from the Department for Transport on this basis. 

However, he said closer examination of delays to testing and infrastructure problems later in July and August revealed the completion date would have to be pushed back.

Sir Terry said he had “considered his own position” following the delay, but ultimately decided he was “keen to continue” in his role.

A spokeswoman for Crossrail said there had been no change to his position as chairman.

In early October Sky News reported that Sir Terry, who added HS2 chairman to his roles mid-July, would leave Crossrail “within months”.

Crossrail dismissed the reports at the time as “unsubstantiated rumour” and said there were no plans for Sir Terry’s departure.

Sir Terry defended the project at the September meeting, pointing out that the difficult tunnelling works were completed within a week of the planned schedule.

He was critical of the project’s tendering process, however, and said some contracts “had not been adequately scoped with detail design before being let”.

Following the delay and cost overrun, TfL drafted in KPMG to examine Crossrail’s forecasts and governance to provide an independent assessment of the impact of the delays.

It is due to present its findings to the operator this month.

Yesterday it was revealed TfL would lose out on more than £200m in revenue because of the delay to the opening of Crossrail.

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