Crossrail train

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The cost to build the surface lines, run by Network Rail, now stands at almost £3bn

Crossrail will not open as planned in summer 2021 because of further delays caused by coronavirus, its board has said.

The railway, from Berkshire to Essex, was originally set to open in December 2018 but various delays pushed it back.

Crossrail said earlier: “The impact of Covid-19 has made the existing pressures more acute.”

On Tuesday the government announced it also needed an additional £140m to complete its surface lines.

Work on the project, Europe’s largest transport scheme, was paused on 24 March because of coronavirus and work did not restart until 15 June.

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The Berkshire to Essex line was originally scheduled to open in December 2018

Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild said: “Everyone working on the Crossrail project knows London needs the Elizabeth line more than ever and we are doing everything possible to deliver the railway as safely and as quickly as we can.”

He added work was being done to finalise a detailed recovery plan for the remaining work.

Andy Byford, London’s new transport commissioner, said: “Crossrail is a transformational project that will benefit London and beyond forever, and it is vitally important to get it over the line.

“The news that coronavirus and other factors mean the railway cannot now open next summer is hugely disappointing.”

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