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Sun April 18 2021

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Crossrail chief steps down

8 Mar 18 With London’s Crossrail project approaching completion, chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme has decided that now is the time to step down.

Andrew Wolstenholme
Andrew Wolstenholme

After seven years at the helm of Crossrail, he is leaving to take up a new role in the private sector. Programme director Simon Wright will now see out the £15bn project’s completion in the combined role of chief executive & programme director.

Over the coming year, the Crossrail team will reduce as works complete in the central section of the railway and some functions transfer to Transport for London, which will take over ownership of the infrastructure, which is being renamed the Elizabeth line.

The revised organisation will continue to coordinate work on the surface route and the integration of infrastructure to support Elizabeth line service changes during 2019.

Institution of Civil Engineers director general Nick Baveystock said: “Andrew Wolstenholme has achieved something amazing during his time as chief executive of Crossrail. He has managed to oversee the largest infrastructure project in Europe, which will deliver improved journey times across London, ease congestion and unlock untold economic benefits across the southeast. More than that, though, he has done a lot to dispel the myths about UK construction. By keeping Crossrail on time and on track he has shown the world that we, as a nation, can still lead the world in infrastructure delivery. At the same time, he was delivering the Construction Sector Deal, chairing the Construction Leadership Council and being at the heart of supporting UK exports through Crossrail International.”

Crossrail chairman Sir Terry Morgan said: “Construction of the Elizabeth line has entered its final stages and during the coming year we will be handing over the completed assets to Transport for London, who will lead the final testing and commissioning phase ahead of the railway’s opening in December.

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“I would like to thank Andrew Wolstenholme for the phenomenal contribution he has made to the Crossrail project over the last seven years. Andrew has overseen the project’s major construction phase including 42km of new tunnels, ten new stations and the installation of systems that will support the operation of the new railway. He has steered the project with a relentless focus on safety and in a way that delivers wider benefits to the UK in innovation, skills and environmental performance. Andrew leaves the team well placed to finish the remaining construction activity and commence infrastructure testing to finish the job, ahead of the opening of the Elizabeth line.”

Transport secretary Chris Grayling also paid tribute to 59-year-old Wolstenholme: “Andrew’s leadership of Crossrail has been critical to its success to date. His work not just on delivering this vital and world-leading project, but also in championing innovative construction methods, supply chain development, diversity – as well as his relentless focus on safety – will leave a lasting legacy across the industry. I am extremely grateful for the contribution Andrew has made.

“I wish him well in his new role and I am delighted that my department will be continuing to work with Andrew in his capacity as a non-executive director of HS2 Ltd, where his experience and skills will continue to be put to good use, to the benefit of the sector.”

From summer 2018, Crossrail will begin handing over the completed infrastructure to Transport for London for operational testing, ahead of the TfL-run railway opening in December 2018. Whilst final finishes and commissioning will continue through to autumn at some sites, the Crossrail project in the central section will be substantively complete.

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