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‘Train Daddy’ Byford won the hearts of New Yorkers, but will he win the battle of the bulging budget of London’s Crossrail?

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Transport for London (TfL) commissioner Andy Byford could take over the running of Crossrail in a matter of days, it has been reported.

The recently appointed boss of London’s transport revealed the project’s board “resigned” yesterday ahead of his organisation taking direct control of the delayed and over-budget project, according to Construction News.

A key condition of the government bailout of TfL was a change in management, and with Byford literally stuck in London while he was over from New York to sort some Visa issues, New York’s loss was London’s gain if the stories coming out of the New York media are anything to go by.

According to a Fox 5 News report, after his last day as president of New York City Transit, Byford had planned to spend time in New York City as a “civilian”. He then flew to London for a short trip to sort out his Visa, but in swift succession, New York and the UK went into COVID-19 lockdown. By May, it was announced that Byford would become London’s Transport Commissioner, starting officially on 29 June.

News clips have typical New Yorkers coming out to greet and thank Byford for getting New York’s subways running on time. News reporters were also egging him on a to see if he would return in two years to run for political office. Sadly, for New York, Byford quit his position over disagreements with Governor Cuomo, who ultimately heads up the MTA.

Back on native soil, Byford may not get the exuberant praise he received in America, but if he can get things moving in the City that Never Sleeps, praise may be in the offing in The Big Smoke. His grand challenge of getting London’s Crossrail on track, on time and not further over budget could have a lot to do with how well the powers that be let him get on with the job, a rolling pandemic, and funds available to deliver on time.

Source: Crossrail

During his time as President and Chief executive Officer of New York City Transit Authority, he was responsible for 50,000 staff and devised a $40bn five-year investment plan to renew the city’s transport system.

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