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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.

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.

Our study will look into the root causes of cost increases and delays, the steps Crossrail Ltd and the programme sponsors have taken to ensure that they complete the programme cost-effectively, and the remaining risks that need to be managed.