Great to see @Crossrail in Paddington but why did it take so long?

Now in my old school days in Paddington, l can vaguely remember the London Rail Study of 1974 suggesting the need for a rail link through Central London. When l came back to London and Paddington after college and my travels, the then Secretary of State for Transport Cecil Parkinson announced the government go-ahead for the East-West Crossrail in 1990.

Now that’s some 32 years after that announcement and 48 years after it was first conceptualised it has now become operational through Paddington. But why did it take such a long time to build this 100 km of new track at £19bn which is well over 3.5 years delayed and £4 bn over costs? In the meantime in other parts of the world, during the past decade of 2010-2020 in the Asian-Pacific Region over 44 new metro systems were opened. 

It’s quite clear that such delays cause substantial increases in costs. Our transport planning system clearly doesn’t function very well hence why major infrastructural proposals which get built come along once in a life time. So on this basis we won’t be seeing Crossrail 2 in my lifetime unless we see major changes in the planning and financing of mega new transport investment like a new metro system. 

Move over, financial and fiscal powers need to change to devolved government to be able to fund these programmes of investment


One thought on “Great to see @Crossrail in Paddington but why did it take so long?

  1. Syed Enam Islam

    Why did it take so long? Why? As you said knowing the answer to this question may help to understand the British nation’s capacity to manage mega infrastructure projects. Look forward to reading your thoughts on the underlying causes of the delay in a further essay on this topic. Thank you so much Murad for the thought provoking writing as always.


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