Crossrail has 500 drivers on payroll costing millions despite two-year delay

Company also employs hundreds of technicians for unfinished project

Zamira Rahim
Monday 06 May 2019 16:55
Crossrail: Whitechapel station costs six times more than the planned £110M

Crossrail employs 479 train drivers at a cost of £25m a year despite the fact most of its services are yet to open.

The drivers are paid salaries of up to £59,000 a year and at least 114 are still being trained, according to The Times.

Most have not been deployed on other rail routes.

“Drivers have to have to be competent and qualified for both the types of train they are driving and their specific routes, so it is usually not possible for them to be deployed to other operators and services,” a Transport for London (TfL) spokesperson said.

Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line, which will run trains at high speed east to west through central London, was first slated to open in December 2018. But in April TfL bosses announced the project could be delayed until March 2021.

Vital elements of the Elizabeth Line have yet to be completed.

These include four major parts of the project: writing and testing software to allow trains to communicate with signalling systems; installing vital station systems; installing the equipment in the tunnels; and test-driving the new trains.

Crossrail has also vastly exceeded its budget and the delay is expected to ”exert significant pressure” on TfL’s operating budget between 2020 and 2022, according to Moody’s.

TfL is Crossrail Ltd’s parent company.

Crossrail has previously said it also employs around 200 maintenance technicians.

Earlier this month, MPs said it was unacceptable that the Department for Transport (DfT) and Crossrail had not identified root causes of delays and cost increases.

The politicians demanded to know what consequences officials had faced for the string of failings.

Crossrail’s original budget was £15bn, but it is thought to have run over by £3bn so far.

The company previously said it had developed a robust and realistic plan that took full account of exactly what was to be done and how long it would take.

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“An enhanced governance structure has been put in place to strengthen the Crossrail programme,” the company’s chair Tony Meggs said in a statement released in April.

“We will be open and transparent about our progress and will be providing Londoners and London businesses with regular updates as we seek to rebuild trust with all our stakeholders.”

The Independent has contacted Crossrail for further comment.

Additional reporting by agencies

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