Comment: are Crossrail homebuyers set to reap rewards at last?

·2 min read

The lifting of working from home restrictions hit differently for different people.

I’m all for the office return but I spare a thought for those who bought in areas such as Abbey Wood or Southall lured by the promise of Crossrail, who have instead endured convoluted, complicated and expensive commutes as they waited for the Elizabeth line to open after more than three years of delay.

One former colleague devised a personal challenge whereby she would see how many different modes of transport she could travel on from her home in Royal Docks, bought in 2017, to our office in Kensington.

She had the unusual advantage of being able to include the Emirates Air Line and Thames Clipper on her route before hopping on a more mundane combination of train, Tube and bus.

Not long after the morning she got stuck on the cable car, yet another Crossrail delay was announced.

She had only ever thought she’d have to do that commute for 18 months. Her dismay was palpable.

I can imagine that being asked to return to the office has struck dread in the hearts of thousands of people in a similar situation who bought in unloved and poorly connected areas with the promise of investment and a revived neighbourhood as well as swift, direct transport links, only to see the opening date pushed further and further into the future.

Hope is on hand at last, though. This week Mayor Sadiq Khan took a test trip on the central section of the line before its new opening date at some point in the next few months.

He praised the line’s “wow factor” while TfL commissioner Andy Byford flung the word “beautiful” around with abandon.

I hope it truly is the miracle all the long-suffering Crossrail buyers have been waiting for.

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