Skip to main content

Connecting people across London and the South-East

The Elizabeth Line is bringing new opportunities while expanding the South-East rail network


The launch of London’s Elizabeth Line happened 13 years after shovels first hit the ground in Canary Wharf. It’s one of the UK’s biggest and most complex infrastructure projects in decades. We’re proud to have supported the delivery of such a complex programme that’s already making a positive impact to lives across the capital and beyond.

London’s Elizabeth Line connects people. Now part the fabric of the city, it’s connecting travellers across the capital and beyond – whether it’s to go to work, go to college, visit friends or see a gig or show.

Most of us know the difference a good journey can make to our day. And when you multiply that by 3.5 million journeys taken on the Elizabeth Line each week, that’s a lot of potential for making lives that little bit easier.

Of course, not every journey across London’s busy network is plain sailing. But now, passengers can travel on state-of-the-art trains from Abbey Wood to Paddington in half the time it used to take.

Data indicates that around 3.5 million Elizabeth Line journeys are taken each week, making the network one of the most used railways in the country and it’s cited by Transport for London as a big contributor to London and the UK economy’s post-pandemic.

The Elizabeth line is the most significant addition to our transport network in decades and has proven to be much more than just a new railway - providing a crucial economic boost to the whole country and playing a vital role in drawing people back on to London's public transport.

Sadiq Khan
Mayor of London, May 2023

While new trains and faster journey times are no small thing, the ambitions behind the Crossrail project and now the Elizabeth Line are much bigger, including social and economic gains:

  • Greener, healthier cities and towns – it’s hoped that a better service complete with wi-fi on trains, faster journeys and integration with bus services and cycle facilities will encourage people to choose public transport and active travel, contributing to public health and safer air quality.

  • Boosting opportunity and the economy – better transport to and from the Mayor of London’s ‘Opportunity Areas’ should help stimulate local economies resulting in investment in more homes and local employment, while improved connections can attract people to the city, reducing social exclusion. The line also improves connections between Heathrow and London’s business and tourism centres.

  • Safer, accessible travel – 31 upgraded stations with new ticket halls, ticket machines, information screens, toilets and waiting rooms are staffed from the first train to the last while new lifts and footbridges provide step-free access from the street to platforms.

Off to a flying start


Our association with Crossrail began in 2010, supporting its work to prepare the project for construction and meeting regulatory requirements. Later, in 2018, we had the opportunity to support the programme through to its finish and support a new direction for the project.

Rob Scopes, a partner in our major programmes practice, led this part of the engagement:

“It’s a privilege to have been able to support the Crossrail project. And what a challenge. It’s the kind or programme we love getting behind.

“The size of the Crossrail project was truly extraordinary. It created 42 kilometres of new track and tunnels under London, reaching from Berkshire to Essex, and ten new stations.

“One of the most complex parts of the build was integrating the new tunnels, tracks and stations with the existing transport system and seamlessly join with the already complex railway network.

“Deloitte was engaged by Crossrail when the project entered difficulty due largely to the lack of a transparency that meant overruns on budget and schedule weren’t spotted in time. Working with its leadership team, we helped to re-plan the programme and create the conditions for successful delivery. Remedial action included bringing together a stronger governance and a clear risk framework to give Crossrail’s leadership a clear view of the programme.

“It’s an example of being able to bring our firm’s multi-disciplinary skills and expertise where they can make a big difference. In this case, by supporting the public sector to deliver a project that really matters, that’s boosting the economy and connecting people.

“Seeing it get off to a flying start and continue to thrive is a good feeling. We’ll be watching with interest as it goes from strength to strength.”

What we did


  • Supported the project’s initial phase in 2010-11.
  • Worked with Crossrail in 2019-20 on a recovery project and revised schedule.
  • Embedded expertise across cost, risk, reporting, planning and leadership.
  • Re-assessed Crossrail’s programme management approach.
  • Improved the approach and developed skills within its teams.
  • Set up a new function that managed the handover from construction project to becoming a fully operational railway.


Read more: Lessons from Crossrail


Programme Aerodynamics® - dealing with the unknown


A programme as complex as Crossrail calls for serious planning know how.

But dealing with things we don’t know is just as important. So is managing the realistic expectation that what can go wrong, sometimes does.

Designed to sit alongside traditional programme planning, Deloitte’s Programme Aerodynamics® builds in uncertainty as a key part of the plan. It helps programmes to constantly scan the horizon for likely, and unlikely, challenges using digital modelling to help.

And it enables teams to create strategies to tackle issues before they actually happen – rather than after, when they become bigger and harder to manage.

So rather than following an impossibly ‘perfect’ plan, programmes get comfortable with tightly managed strategies that evolve every day, acknowledge issues and fixes quickly, and bring in the right people and solutions to manage them.

Tom Milligan

Partner, Consulting

+44 (0)20 7303 3054

Email Tom

Did you find this useful?

Thanks for your feedback

If you would like to help improve further, please complete a 3-minute survey