10:15AM, Friday 17 January 2020
The latest delay to Crossrail is ‘disappointing’ but will ‘match perfectly’ with the bulk of housing planned in Maidenhead.
That is the view of Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray), lead member for planning and Maidenhead, following the announcement that full Crossrail services will commence ‘by mid-2022’.
The latest update on progress to complete the Elizabeth Line sees full services from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east commence by mid-2022.
The line – linking Maidenhead directly with central London stations beyond Paddington – was meant to be completed in 2018.
The central London section between Paddington and Abbey Wood will open in summer 2021, Crossrail added, while operational testing is set to begin this year.
Following the mid-2022 announcement, Cllr Coppinger said the line will still coincide nicely with regeneration in Maidenhead.
“In terms of the bulk of new property, it will match perfectly. This is happening over a long period,” he said.
“It is just a pity it is not starting when we thought it would.
“We are obviously disappointed but we still have a very frequent Great Western Railway (GWR) service in and out of Paddington.
“It is a disappointment but by no means the end of the world.”
Richard Porter, of the Marlow and Maidenhead Passengers Association, said: “Crossrail is a mammoth engineering project and when it is up and running we will soon forget about a year or four’s delay.
“Don’t forget that there’s an interim stage during which trains will run through from Abbey Wood to Paddington, but not on to the western section, so it will still mean changing trains.
“In reality most passengers from Maidenhead will prefer to travel up to Paddington on faster and more comfortable GWR services.
“The tunnelling went very well but the fit-out and signalling is another story.”
Mark Wild, chief executive at Crossrail Ltd, said: “We continue to make good progress with the central section now reaching substantial completion.
“We have a comprehensive plan to complete the Elizabeth line, and the milestones we must hit during 2020, including the testing of the signalling and train systems and safety assurance.
“Our latest assessment is that Elizabeth Line services through central London will commence in summer 2021 but we are aiming to open the railway as soon as we can.
“The key focus for everyone on the Crossrail project is commencing intensive testing of the Elizabeth line as soon as we can in 2020, to enable passenger service as early as possible in 2021.”
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