Over the 20 years the project has run, it has faced many setbacks, delays and budget cuts.
But now it’s finally complete and will officially open on May 24, just in time to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
But before it opened, we thought we’d look back at the past 20 years and the project’s timeline.
Crossrail’s Elizabeth Line Full Timeline:
– January 2002: Cross London Rail Links Ltd, a joint venture with the Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London (TfL), is formed to develop plans for Crossrail.
– July 2004: The government commits to enact legislation to enable Crossrail to continue.
– October 2007: Prime Minister Gordon Brown gives the green light to the project. It is expected to cost £15.9 billion and open in December 2017.
– May 2009: London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Lord Adonis are breaking ground for the Canary Wharf project.
– October 2010: Crossrail’s budget has been reduced to £14.8 billion in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government’s comprehensive spending statement. The opening date has been pushed back 12 months to December 2018.
– January 2014: The National Audit Office says the scheme is “just behind schedule”, adding that Crossrail Ltd “remains confident” it will open on time.
– May 2015: The tunneling is complete when a tunneling machine named Victoria arrives in Farringdon. Some 13 miles of new tunnels have been dug under London.
– February 2016: The Queen visits Bond Street station and announces that the railway will be named the Elizabeth Line in her honor.
– July 2018: Railways Minister Jo Johnson announces Crossrail’s budget has risen to £15.4 billion as “cost pressures have increased during the project”.
– August 2018: Crossrail Ltd announces it will miss the December 2018 opening date, but the central section “will open in Fall 2019”. The project is experiencing construction delays and difficulties in installing complex signaling systems.
– Dec 2018: TfL says Crossrail may face further delays and need a £2bn funding increase, raising costs to £17.6bn. The government, TfL and London Mayor Sadiq Khan agree a financial package to cover this.
– Dec 2018: Sir Terry Morgan is stepping down as chairman of Crossrail Ltd and HS2, days after he predicted he would be fired. He will be replaced at Crossrail by London Underground director Mark Wild.
– April 2019: A “delivery window” will be announced for the center section of Crossrail between October 2020 and March 2021.
– Nov 2019: Crossrail Ltd announces that the railway will open “as soon as practical in 2021”. Costs have increased by up to £650m to £18.25bn.
– January 2020: The “final assessment” is that services will start in the summer of 2021.
– July 2020: Crossrail Ltd says the railway will not open in the summer of 2021 due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It does not provide an updated schedule.
– August 2020: The line is announced to open in the first half of 2022.
– July 2021: The National Audit Office says Crossrail’s estimated total cost is £18.9 billion.
– May 2022: TfL announces that the Elizabeth line will open in three separate sections on May 24. Visiting with the Queen to announce the completion of the project.
– Autumn 2022: The lines from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield are to connect to the central tunnels.
– May 2023: It is intended that the full timetable of up to 24 trains per hour will be introduced.