Crossrail | Network Rail’s East London station upgrade complete after year-long setback

The upgrade of Ilford station in East London has finally been complete.

Ilford train station’s new entrance building opened today (Friday 2 September). It has been upgraded as part of Network Rail’s programme of station upgrades in East and West London, which are needed to cater for Elizabeth line services.

The project was originally earmarked to be complete by December 2020 but was pushed back after Network Rail revealed it needed an extra £140M to carry out its programme of Crossrail station upgrades.

The Ilford station upgrade was then delayed again after concrete slabs at the station were found to be deteriorated in August 2021, forcing contractor Volkerfitzpatrick to remove them and pour new ones. This additional work cost an extra £4M.

The cost of Network Rail’s station upgrades as part of the Elizabeth line project now stand at £3bn, £700M more than its planned budget in 2012.

Under Secretary of State for Transport Baroness Vere said: “As a result of almost £3bn of government funding to make stations along the line more accessible, Ilford station has been rebuilt into a spacious new ticket hall with three new lifts to make travel across London a reality for everyone.”

Network Rail claims the full set of Elizabeth line station upgrades is now “significantly complete”. Both Hayes & Harlington and Solihull stations are currently undergoing their upgrades, while Shenfield and Abbey Wood’s redevelopments have now been completed.

The renovations are giving the chosen stations new ticket halls and accessibility is a major factor in Network Rail’s plans as it aims to make the entrance’s step-free.

Ilford’s new ticket hall also includes an improved gateline to “encourage ease of movement into and out of the station” and three new lifts for the step-free access.

TfL director of the Elizabeth line Howard Smith said: “Ilford station’s new entrance is a significant and important improvement for our customers.

“I’m very pleased that people with mobility needs as well as those with children in buggies or customers carrying heavy luggage can now access the transformational Elizabeth line from this station with greater ease, improving their journeys.”

The central section of the Elizabeth line – delivered by Crossrail Ltd – opened in May this year. When it opened Bond Street station remained closed due to outstanding work.

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that Crossrail’s Bond Street station will be open shortly before Elizabeth line services are increased on 6 November.

Speaking to NCE shortly after the Elizabeth line opening, former Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild tipped the troubled station to become “the jewel in Crossrail’s crown” when it does open.

A recent report by the Greater London Authority (GLA) concluded that “there have been issues around the number of contractors; the complexity of the contractual interfaces; and the relationship between the contractors building the stations and those tunnelling”.

Despite the issues, the GLA applauded TfL for ending contractor involvement at Bond Street station early. Crossrail Ltd paid Costain Skanska joint venture (CSJV) a final £19M payment to end its involvement in June 2020, as previously revealed by NCE.

Instead, TfL took the decision to bring the project in-house with the support of Crossrail delivery partners Jacobs, Bechtel and Nichols. The GLA estimates that this decision saved the project around £100M.

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