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Khan: Crossrail said December opening 'was achievable'

Those working on Crossrail assured Transport for London (TfL) that a December opening date was possible as recently as August, despite the operator’s doubts, it has been claimed.

Sadiq Khan was questioned today at a London Assembly meeting over when he knew of delays to the rail project following former chairman Sir Terry Morgan’s claims that the mayor of London knew a December opening would not be possible months before it was announced.

It was noted that a July report from Transport for London (TfL) flagged serious concerns about a December opening.

But Mr Khan and Transport for London commissioner Mike Brown both said Crossrail Ltd and Sir Terry assured them that a December opening date was possible as recently as the end of August.

The mayor said: “If we were told at the end of July as Sir Terry Morgan claims, why would nothing have [been done by] ourselves, TfL or Sir Terry Morgan himself? He went on holiday. All I can assume is, he has misremembered.”

He also accused Sir Terry of “either misremembering or choosing not to remember” and of having said a “number of things which are simply untrue”.

Mr Khan and Mr Brown noted a number of times that under the Project Development Agreement governing Crossrail, they would have been obliged to issue promptly an ‘Adverse Event Notice’ to joint-sponsors TfL and the Department for Transport. Crossrail did not do this they say.

Labour assembly member Joanne McCartney said her colleagues on the committee had also been misinformed by those working on Crossrail – including signallers – who repeatedly told them the project was on course for a December opening.

“I feel extremely angry. It reminds me of the sessions we had on the rail timetabling fiasco – they were so closely involved they didn’t want to believe there were problems. They stuck their heads in the sand and were deluded,” she said.

Signalling problems are among the issues which put back the December opening, which has been further delayed since, with no opening date now set.

Sir Terry is due to attend a meeting of the committee next month.

The meeting also heard that the Department for Transport had declined an invitation to attend to explain what it knew and when.

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