Background to the memorandum

The Department for Transport (the department) jointly sponsors, with Transport for London, the Crossrail programme. This will deliver a new railway, including a 26 mile tunnelled section beneath central London, which will be known as the Elizabeth Line. New rail services will operate on the line between Abbey Wood and Shenfield to the East of London, and Heathrow and Reading in the West.

Jump to downloads

The programme involves complex engineering works, a new fleet of trains and the appointment of a private operator. Crossrail Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London, is delivering the programme, with Network Rail undertaking work on existing surface tracks.

Crossrail has been subject to cost and schedule pressures. In July 2018, the government announced that the overall funding for the project had increased by £600 million to £15.4bn. In August, Crossrail Ltd announced that the opening of the central section will be delayed from December 2018 to Autumn 2019. Since then, it has been announced that the opening date is uncertain, and that the government will provide £1.3 billion as a loan to the Greater London Authority and a further loan of £750 million to Transport for London as contingency. The Greater London Authority is also making a cash contribution to the programme of £100 million.

Content and scope of the memorandum

We have produced this memorandum on the Crossrail programme to support Parliamentary scrutiny of Crossrail in light of events that transpired during the second half of 2018.

The Memorandum sets out the background to the Crossrail programme, including why and how it is being built, and who is building and paying for it. It also includes public statements about when the Department for Transport (the Department), Transport for London (TfL) and Crossrail Ltd expect services to operate, how much they currently estimate the programme will cost, and what funding has been committed to the programme. It is based mainly on publicly available information.

We will also be publishing a value-for-money study on Crossrail in Spring 2019. This will examine:

  • the underlying causes of the delays and cost increases;
  • the reasons why the programme unravelled in 2018, and why issues emerged so quickly and with such a significant cost increase; and
  • the actions sponsors and Crossrail Ltd have taken to get the programme on track, and our assessment of whether these actions are likely to be sufficient.

Depending on the progress of the programme by the time we report, it will also set out the expected forecast cost and delivery schedule, and assess the programme’s remaining future risks.