The chief executive of Crossrail has denied to set a solid date for when the railway will open, instead stating that the firm “very, very much wants to get this done in 2020”.
In comments to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild said the railway’s next update, likely to be in April, would offer a “window” of opening dates rather than a specific date, to avoid “trying to land a project on a pin”.
The public spending watchdog insisted to know who was “responsible for this screw up”.
Mark Wild, Crossrail chairman Tony Meggs and permanent transport secretary Bernadette Kelly stated that the delays to the £17.6bn Elizabeth Line were down to “systematic failures” rather than individual fault.
Meggs revealed that a “culture of over-optimism” had led to the “poor reporting of information upwards”.
When asked by Nigel Mills MP if this challenge could have been predicted, Wild responded: “You’d have to be a historian.”
Referring to reports on the troubled project, Lee Rowley MP said: “It’s incredible, incredible for senior people to sit here and tell me you were not clear this was going to fall over. It was perfectly clear it was going to fall over.”
Wild said: “The failure is the lack of understanding of the sheer scale of this.”
Towards the back end of last year it was announced that Crossrail would receive a £1.3bn bailout from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and £100m from the DfT.