December 5, 2018 / 5:36 PM / 5 days ago

Chairman of Britain's Crossrail and HS2 project resigns

LONDON (Reuters) - The chairman of Britain’s delayed 15-billion-pound London Crossrail project, Terry Morgan, has resigned, the Department of Transport said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Terry Morgan the Chairman of Crossrail, attend the formal unveiling of the new logo for Crossrail, which is to be named the Elizabeth line, at the construction site of the Bond Street station in central London, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Richard Pohle/Pool/File Photo

Morgan, 70, also stepped down as Chairman of the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project connecting London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Crossrail is one of Europe’s biggest infrastructure projects and is running almost 600 million pounds over budget with extra funding required to complete the work.

In August, it was announced that its planned opening this month had been delayed to Autumn 2019 because it requires more time for testing and for final work to be completed.

When fully open, the Elizabeth line, as it is officially known, will connect destinations like Heathrow Airport in west London to areas such as the Canary Wharf financial district in the east.

Morgan, who had been in the Crossrail job for almost a decade, had predicted earlier this month he would be ousted after the delay.

He told the BBC: “I can only assume that because HS2 is such a critically important program and with the sense of disappointment around the performance of Crossrail, that it was considered to be too risky for a program like HS2 to continue (with me) as chairman.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Sir Terry has been an integral part of Crossrail for almost a decade and I would like to thank him for his dedication and the expertise he brought to the role. I am also grateful to him for his work as chair of HS2 Ltd.

Morgan will be replaced at HS2 by Allan Cook, a former chairman of engineers WS Atkins Plc and a director of U.S. banker J.F. Lehman and Co. The Crossrail chairmanship will be announced later.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he had been concerned about the effectiveness of Crossrail’s governance.

He added in a statement: “Under new leadership, Crossrail must provide the joint sponsors and Londoners with the confidence that it has robust mechanisms in place to deliver a revised schedule, operating with a renewed sense of urgency and transparency across all parts of the project.”

Reporting by Stephen Addison, Editing by Paul Sandle

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