Complexity leads to 30 year wait for Thameslink upgrade

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Posted by APM on 13th Nov 2013

Thameslink projectThe Thameslink project, which will see the upgrade of the north-south cross London railway line, has come under fire from MPs who say it is taking an excessive" length of time to deliver.

The Government has said that the projects complexity has played a role in the delays so far.

The public accounts committee (PAC) has said that despite evidence of improvement works becoming evident as far back as 1989, railway users wouldnt see the 6bn upgrade project until the 2020s.

In its latest report, the PAC also criticised the Department for Transport's (DfT) use of the private finance initiative (PFI) in the project.

Labour MP Margaret Hodge said: The planned completion date has been put back to 2018. But meeting the timetable for delivering the new trains will be very demanding and risky.

"We are also sceptical about using PFI [private finance initiative] to fund this project.

"It is alarming that the department compared the PFI option against only one other private sector option and did not construct a public sector comparator to understand better the relative costs, risks and rewards of choosing a PFI funding route over a public one."

The DfT was suffering from a shortage of project management skills, according to the PAC. It also questioned the size of the core team working on the Thameslink project just five describing it as "too small for a programme of this scale, compared with teams for other complex government projects".

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