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Crossrail delay: Ealing Council leader 'furious' after National Rail admit west London stations won't be built in time for opening

Partial Crossrail services in west London begin from May 2018

Delays to west London's Crossrail stations of as much as two-and-a-half years have left the leader of Ealing Council "furious".

Work on Ealing's five Crossrail stations was due to be completed by the end of the year but Network Rail has admitted they could all be delayed until December 2019.

Platform extension work is due to be completed by December 2017, ahead of the launch of the Paddington to Heathrow route in May 2018 but station work has barely scratched the surface.

While Ealing Broadway has had some internal remodelling, no work has been carried out at Southall, West Ealing and Acton mainline, which were due to have all new stations.

"The materials are there but there's no progress at all" - Dr Ben Sherliker(Image: Dr Ben Sherliker)

Hanwell is also due to have accessibility work done but the external lift is yet to be fitted.

Much of the council's frustration is related to public realm works like installation of traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and road layout changes to accommodate for increased footfall through the stations.

The TfL funding for this work expires in 2018/19 but Ealing Council is limited in what it can do before the new station building is complete.

There is also concern that Network Rail has no plans to demolish the old stations, which would mean the council footing the maintenance bill to prevent them becoming a danger to the public.

'Seriously delayed'

Councillor Julian Bell said: “All of these stations are now seriously delayed and none will be complete when the first trains start running in May 2018.

"New station buildings were considered necessary because of the increase in passenger numbers that Crossrail will bring and I have serious concerns about public safety when the Elizabeth Line service starts.

“Despite demanding a new work programme from Crossrail and Network Rail, their official position remains a mystery to us as neither will confirm what the cause of the delay is, what is being done to rectify the issues and when work will start.

"In the meantime, we are left with old station buildings that will not be able to cope with the increased footfall.

“As a council, we are also waiting to spend the Crossrail Complementary Funding we have been granted by TfL. This money has been allocated to ensure that the gateway to our Crossrail stations is safe and welcoming."

Public realm works by the council will now be delayed(Image: Dr Ben Sherliker)

Cllr Bell said the authority is limited in the work that it can do before the stations is finished.

He continued: "We have been told by TfL that the deadline for spending the money runs out at the end of the 2018/19 financial year regardless and cannot be extended.

"I am furious that a delay that is none of our making is going to mean that we could miss out on vital funding.

“In addition, we have also learned that the three stations due to have new buildings will not have the old station building removed as part of the process. It’s likely that they will be simply boarded up by Network Rail and left to fall into disrepair.

The Crossrail route in west London(Image: TfL)

"These old buildings are going to require a significant level of maintenance to stop them for becoming a liability to the public walking past and to the railway line, but Network Rail is refusing to take any responsibility and contribute towards the cost of maintaining or removing them.

“We are now raising these issues at the highest level within both Crossrail and Network Rail. My residents deserve some answers and we will be doing everything we can to communicate our very real concern about the effects of these continuous delays and to get some clarity on exactly what is going on with this very shabby state of affairs.”

'On track for introduction'

Ben Wheeldon, programme director for Crossrail at Network Rail, said: "The timeline for the introduction of the Elizabeth line is on track.

"Network Rail has already delivered extensive infrastructure upgrades to enable the introduction of the Elizabeth line, and by December this year we will have completed all of the rail infrastructure in Ealing needed to support the testing of Elizabeth line trains in advance of their introduction next May.

“The new station building and accessible pedestrian footbridge will be completed by December 2019, which is when the Crossrail project completes and the full Elizabeth line services are introduced, linking Ealing with central London.

"As a result of Crossrail construction work for the Elizabeth line, passengers and residents in Ealing are already seeing real improvements to their railway and train service.

"The electrification of the line to Maidenhead and a new lengthened bay platform at Hayes & Harlington has facilitated the introduction of GWR electric services to Paddington, providing over 1,000 seats into Paddington at the busiest times."

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