London

Crossrail delay: TfL 'removed' Sadiq Khan delay warnings

Elizabeth line Image copyright Transport for London
Image caption Sir Terry Morgan and Sadiq Khan have been feuding over "who knew what when" in regards to the project's delays

The former chairman of Crossrail has accused Transport for London (TfL) of deleting project delay warnings intended for mayor Sadiq Khan.

Crossrail, originally set to open last month, has been delayed past 2019.

Mr Khan complained he was not told of the delays until 29 August - two days before the public announcement.

But Sir Terry Morgan said weekly TfL reports produced to update the mayor on Crossrail's progress had been "routinely" altered by the body.

He told the London Assembly Transport Committee that the weekly briefings were "cleared" by TfL before reaching the mayor.

TfL said the briefings being sent to Mr Khan provided a "snapshot of the status of the project".

Sir Terry also reiterated that the mayor was told on 26 July that a 2018 opening was "no longer feasible".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Crossrail is £2bn over budget and at least a year late

At the meeting on Wednesday, Sir Terry accused TfL of removing a paragraph in a briefing note to Mr Khan that concluded there would be insufficient time to complete testing.

He also told the assembly that TfL gave him notes of what to say at a board meeting on 25 July which removed any mention of delays to the Elizabeth Line.

He said the document on the meeting "took out any reference to not being able to deliver the programme in 2018".

TfL said this was "completely untrue" and that prior to the 25 July meeting Sir Terry "went through what he intended to say and subsequently asked if someone would write this up as an aide-memoire for him to use".

Hitting back at Mr Khan's claims that he "misremembered" the events leading up to the announcement of the project's delay, Sir Terry said: "I do not suffer from loss of memory."

Analysis

Tom Edwards, BBC London Transport Correspondent

This was a defiant performance from the former Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan who stood by his version of events.

He pulled back the curtains on the relations between Crossrail, TfL and City Hall.

He accuses TfL of meddling in Crossrail affairs by telling him to stick to a TfL board briefing that did not mention any delays.

He also accuses TfL of deleting key paragraphs in a briefing note to the mayor that said there would be insufficient time to test trains and insists he did tell the mayor about the delays on 26 July.

This rancorous dispute of who knew what when just went toxic.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Elizabeth Line had been due to open in December 2018

Heidi Alexander, Mr Khan's deputy mayor for transport said the idea that on 26 July Sir Terry ruled out a December 2018 opening date was "simply not true and did not happen".

Ms Alexander added she was struck by a "lack of realism from Sir Terry about what was really going on with this project".

Responding to Sir Terry's accusation that TfL had omitted references to the project's delay, she said: "I have no knowledge of the process of the preparation of those notes.

"I would be as interested as you if there were changes made."

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