Crossrail ‘textbook example’ of good programme management, says report

The £15.8bn Crossrail programme was commended for demonstrating good programme management by a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, published yesterday.

By Winnie.Agbonlahor

24 Jul 2014

The report, titled ‘Crossrail’, says the project is “proceeding well and is on course to deliver value for money to the taxpayer.”

It continues: “Crossrail is a textbook example of how to focus on the essentials of programme management, including defining a realistic scope, establishing a management team with the necessary skills and securing the required funding.”

Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London and, when complete, will involve a new railway line from Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west, to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.

It includes construction and improvement works, such as building a new underground railway across central London; improving existing tracks to the east and west of London, and building and upgrading stations. It also includes buying a new fleet of trains at a cost of £1 billion, and appointing a new operator for the service.

Crossrail Limited is delivering most of the programme, with Network Rail undertaking the work on existing sections of railway.

The joint sponsors, the report says, are “working well with Crossrail Limited to deliver the programme, which at present is broadly on schedule and being delivered within budget.”

PAC member Richard Bacon said: “Major, complex infrastructure projects are notoriously difficult to deliver on time and in budget. With Crossrail we see a textbook example of how to get things right.”

The report calls on the department and the rest of government to use this as an “opportunity…to learn valuable lessons about delivering major projects, such as the importance of careful early preparation.”

However, it adds that that construction is not yet complete, and “considerable risks remain in delivering the programme by 2019, particularly managing the transition from building the railway to operating it, and delivering the Crossrail trains.”

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