Councillor Julian Bell, leader of Ealing Council, hit out today at news of serious delays to the rebuild and remodelling of the borough’s Crossrail stations. Ealing has five stations on the new Elizabeth Line route: Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and Acton Mainline.
Southall, West Ealing and Acton Mainline are due to get completely new stations. Ealing Broadway is scheduled to be significantly remodelled and Hanwell is to be made step-free with an external lift.
All upgrades were due to be completed this year. To date, the only station to see any work is Ealing Broadway which has had some internal remodelling.
Councillor 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. We are limited in the work we can do before work on the stations is finished, but 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. 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.”
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