Discussion:
Crossrail needs £500m bailout
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Recliner
2018-05-13 09:30:16 UTC
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So it looks like the growing rumours are true: Crossrail has tunnelled
right through its budget:

<https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/crossrail-needs-500m-bailout-by-taxpayer-chris-grayling-to-tell-mps-lv77md5vp?shareToken=a60f484d8b66fa32622201ef3b1df63f>
Graeme Wall
2018-05-13 11:18:59 UTC
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Post by Recliner
So it looks like the growing rumours are true: Crossrail has tunnelled
<https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/crossrail-needs-500m-bailout-by-taxpayer-chris-grayling-to-tell-mps-lv77md5vp?shareToken=a60f484d8b66fa32622201ef3b1df63f>
£500 million on a £14.8 billion project is hardly a massive overrun.
Just the Times banging its anti-rail drum. I see it claims the third
runway is about to start construction which will be news to just about
everybody.
--
Graeme Wall
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tim...
2018-05-13 12:07:00 UTC
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Post by Recliner
So it looks like the growing rumours are true: Crossrail has tunnelled
<https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/crossrail-needs-500m-bailout-by-taxpayer-chris-grayling-to-tell-mps-lv77md5vp?shareToken=a60f484d8b66fa32622201ef3b1df63f>
£500 million on a £14.8 billion project is hardly a massive overrun. Just
the Times banging its anti-rail drum. I see it claims the third runway is
about to start construction which will be news to just about everybody.
Though some of the overrun is (according to the article) because "the power
supply system for the line exploded in testing, owing to a design fault"

I fail to see why that cost should be falling on the taxpayer.

it should be paid by whoever was responsible for the design fault (and
perhaps it might be)

tim
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Graeme Wall
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Roland Perry
2018-05-13 12:55:06 UTC
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Post by tim...
Post by Graeme Wall
£500 million on a £14.8 billion project is hardly a massive overrun.
Just the Times banging its anti-rail drum. I see it claims the third
runway is about to start construction which will be news to just
about everybody.
Though some of the overrun is (according to the article) because "the
power supply system for the line exploded in testing, owing to a design
fault"
And YET AGAIN - problems with signalling.
Post by tim...
I fail to see why that cost should be falling on the taxpayer.
it should be paid by whoever was responsible for the design fault
Or their professional liability insurers (probably they think they are
big enough to self-insure).
Post by tim...
(and perhaps it might be)
--
Roland Perry
Robin
2018-05-13 21:04:08 UTC
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Post by Graeme Wall
Post by Recliner
So it looks like the growing rumours are true: Crossrail has tunnelled
<https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/crossrail-needs-500m-bailout-by-taxpayer-chris-grayling-to-tell-mps-lv77md5vp?shareToken=a60f484d8b66fa32622201ef3b1df63f>
£500 million on a £14.8 billion project is hardly a massive overrun.
Just the Times banging its anti-rail drum.  I see it claims the third
runway is about to start construction which will be news to just about
everybody.
It is an overrun, and £500 million is pretty massive, given such
projects should have a contingency provision built in (as per The Green
Book). IMHO we can't claim to have a decent record on infrastructure
projects unless and until we start seeing some delivered _under_ the
(contingency inclusive) budget. But I doubt I'll live to see the day:
optimism bias will rule so long as project sponsors (especially
political project sponsors) don't have their c***s on the block.
--
Robin
reply-to address is (intended to be) valid
james mathew
2018-05-13 13:26:05 UTC
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Paul Corfield
2018-05-13 23:55:56 UTC
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Post by Recliner
So it looks like the growing rumours are true: Crossrail has tunnelled
<https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/crossrail-needs-500m-bailout-by-taxpayer-chris-grayling-to-tell-mps-lv77md5vp?shareToken=a60f484d8b66fa32622201ef3b1df63f>
Err we don't actually know what the substance is to whatever has been leaked to the Times. There are two possibilities.

1. The budget and all contingency has been busted to the extent of £500m.

2. There is a need to call on budgeted contingency to the tube of £500m for risks that have been predicted and forecast and where the mitigation strategies have been exhausted.

I have to say it is FAR more likely that the second option above is what has happened. I cannot see how Crossrail will have blown through its entire budget and contingency at this point. There have been and undoubtedly remain considerable pressures in multiple areas but not all of those risks fall to the public purse. The Times have picked on the power supply issue but there's nothing to indicate that Crossrail should carry the cost of that - assuming it's defective design / manufacture / installation at fault and all of those activities are contracted to appropriate suppliers. It's their risk to fix their defects. The only aspect which will be contentious is the delay impact on the wider programme and to what extent the contractor is liable for consequential damages - assuming they can be identified accurately and there isn't too low a cap on the damages in the contract.

Signalling only, so far, appears to be an issue in the Heathrow tunnels. That's small beer in the wider scheme of themes and certainly nowhere near £500m worth of work never mind overruns. The most recent Crossrail Transition update (published last week) was relatively positive about signalling testing progress in the core tunnel section but there's a fair way to go yet to test the full section and build up to a full shadow service. There may be some undeclared woes with the core's TBTC signalling but I've read nothing anywhere that would support this.

I suspect some cost pressures exist on station works and system integration where it's been obvious for a long while that some sites are under distinct time pressures if they're to be complete in a few months time to allow handover to the operators to allow proper operational build up.

We really need more detail about precisely what's going on and the use of budgeted contingency funds before everyone goes off on a "woe is me, Crossrail are useless" tirade. There has been nothing declared in public to say that any of the contingency funds have been used never mind all of them. There is a reason why you have contingency monies and a process for their controlled release and the risks we're seeing now are prime examples of what can happen on such a large scheme.

The other interesting aspect is precisely what Grayling decides to do. Will he use this as yet another "bash that b****** Mayor who I hate" opportunity to turn the screw even more on City Hall and TfL? Let's hope for once his petty attitude doesn't extend quite that far.
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Paul C
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Recliner
2018-05-14 07:22:36 UTC
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Post by Paul Corfield
Post by Recliner
So it looks like the growing rumours are true: Crossrail has tunnelled
<https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/crossrail-needs-500m-bailout-by-taxpayer-chris-grayling-to-tell-mps-lv77md5vp?shareToken=a60f484d8b66fa32622201ef3b1df63f>
Err we don't actually know what the substance is to whatever has been
leaked to the Times. There are two possibilities.
1. The budget and all contingency has been busted to the extent of £500m.
2. There is a need to call on budgeted contingency to the tube of £500m
for risks that have been predicted and forecast and where the mitigation
strategies have been exhausted.
I have to say it is FAR more likely that the second option above is what
has happened. I cannot see how Crossrail will have blown through its
entire budget and contingency at this point. There have been and
undoubtedly remain considerable pressures in multiple areas but not all
of those risks fall to the public purse. The Times have picked on the
power supply issue but there's nothing to indicate that Crossrail should
carry the cost of that - assuming it's defective design / manufacture /
installation at fault and all of those activities are contracted to
appropriate suppliers. It's their risk to fix their defects. The only
aspect which will be contentious is the delay impact on the wider
programme and to what extent the contractor is liable for consequential
damages - assuming they can be identified accurately and there isn't too
low a cap on the damages in the contract.
Signalling only, so far, appears to be an issue in the Heathrow tunnels.
That's small beer in the wider scheme of themes and certainly nowhere
near £500m worth of work never mind overruns. The most recent Crossrail
Transition update (published last week) was relatively positive about
signalling testing progress in the core tunnel section but there's a fair
way to go yet to test the full section and build up to a full shadow
service. There may be some undeclared woes with the core's TBTC
signalling but I've read nothing anywhere that would support this.
I suspect some cost pressures exist on station works and system
integration where it's been obvious for a long while that some sites are
under distinct time pressures if they're to be complete in a few months
time to allow handover to the operators to allow proper operational build up.
We really need more detail about precisely what's going on and the use of
budgeted contingency funds before everyone goes off on a "woe is me,
Crossrail are useless" tirade. There has been nothing declared in public
to say that any of the contingency funds have been used never mind all of
them. There is a reason why you have contingency monies and a process for
their controlled release and the risks we're seeing now are prime
examples of what can happen on such a large scheme.
The other interesting aspect is precisely what Grayling decides to do.
Will he use this as yet another "bash that b****** Mayor who I hate"
opportunity to turn the screw even more on City Hall and TfL? Let's hope
for once his petty attitude doesn't extend quite that far.
There's more in this morning's Telegraph:

<https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/05/13/crossrails-funding-crisis-sparks-fears-rise-rail-fares>

Regarding the contingency fund, it says:

"A Government source said a contingency fund was available for Crossrail
but the size of this pot of cash wasn’t near the estimated £500m overspend,
first reported by The Sunday Times.

Any funding shortfall beyond what central Government is willing cover is
likely to spark fears of fare rises or other tax increases for Londoners."
Robin
2018-05-14 16:33:46 UTC
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Post by Paul Corfield
Post by Recliner
So it looks like the growing rumours are true: Crossrail has tunnelled
<https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/crossrail-needs-500m-bailout-by-taxpayer-chris-grayling-to-tell-mps-lv77md5vp?shareToken=a60f484d8b66fa32622201ef3b1df63f>
Err we don't actually know what the substance is to whatever has been leaked to the Times. There are two possibilities.
1. The budget and all contingency has been busted to the extent of £500m.
2. There is a need to call on budgeted contingency to the tube of £500m for risks that have been predicted and forecast and where the mitigation strategies have been exhausted.
I have to say it is FAR more likely that the second option above is what has happened. I cannot see how Crossrail will have blown through its entire budget and contingency at this point. There have been and undoubtedly remain considerable pressures in multiple areas but not all of those risks fall to the public purse. The Times have picked on the power supply issue but there's nothing to indicate that Crossrail should carry the cost of that - assuming it's defective design / manufacture / installation at fault and all of those activities are contracted to appropriate suppliers. It's their risk to fix their defects. The only aspect which will be contentious is the delay impact on the wider programme and to what extent the contractor is liable for consequential damages - assuming they can be identified accurately and there isn't too low a cap on the damages in the contract.
I read the reports as indicating that while spending to date has not
exceeded the budget (including the contingency), the forecast outturns
now make an overspend inevitable.
Post by Paul Corfield
Signalling only, so far, appears to be an issue in the Heathrow tunnels. That's small beer in the wider scheme of themes and certainly nowhere near £500m worth of work never mind overruns. The most recent Crossrail Transition update (published last week) was relatively positive about signalling testing progress in the core tunnel section but there's a fair way to go yet to test the full section and build up to a full shadow service. There may be some undeclared woes with the core's TBTC signalling but I've read nothing anywhere that would support this.
I suspect some cost pressures exist on station works and system integration where it's been obvious for a long while that some sites are under distinct time pressures if they're to be complete in a few months time to allow handover to the operators to allow proper operational build up.
We really need more detail about precisely what's going on and the use of budgeted contingency funds before everyone goes off on a "woe is me, Crossrail are useless" tirade. There has been nothing declared in public to say that any of the contingency funds have been used never mind all of them. There is a reason why you have contingency monies and a process for their controlled release and the risks we're seeing now are prime examples of what can happen on such a large scheme.
There were reports some years ago that the original contingency had
already been committed (the "self-fulfilling prophecy that politicians
and managers can’t prevent"). Admittedly that was AIUI committed at the
top level (of the 4 levels of contingency in the project). But AFAICS
there's been a worrying lack of reassuring comments in response to
rather a lot of reports of overruns in recent months.
Post by Paul Corfield
The other interesting aspect is precisely what Grayling decides to do. Will he use this as yet another "bash that b****** Mayor who I hate" opportunity to turn the screw even more on City Hall and TfL? Let's hope for once his petty attitude doesn't extend quite that far.
I expect he'll be roughly on a par with the Mayor's practice when there
are problems with a Westminster government project/programme ;)
--
Robin
reply-to address is (intended to be) valid
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