A new plan to complete the outstanding works and bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service at the earliest possible date has been developed by the new Crossrail leadership team. This provides Londoners with a realistic and achievable plan to complete the Elizabeth line.
By the end of the year, final fit-out and testing and commissioning is due to be completed at many stations and Dynamic Testing will be in its final stages. This will allow the new stations and rail infrastructure to be integrated with the rest of the railway. During 2020 we will undertake testing of the completed railway including an extensive period of trial running and trial operations to build absolute confidence in the safety and reliability of the whole system before opening to the public.
Due to the complexity of the remaining work, Crossrail Ltd has identified a six-month delivery window between October 2020 and March 2021 for the start of Elizabeth line services through central London. Crossrail Ltd will be able to provide increasing certainty about when the Elizabeth line will open once we start to fully test the operational railway and integrate the train and signalling software.
The central section of the Elizabeth line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood and link the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and southeast London with initially 12 trains per hour. It is expected that all stations on the route will open except for Bond Street which will not be ready to open until 2021.
Once the central section opens, phased services will be introduced across the entire route, with full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, commencing as soon as possible.
THE FOUR MAJOR TASKS
There are four major tasks that must be completed to bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service.
1. Tunnel Systems – lnstall and connect
We need to finish fit-out and installation of equipment in the tunnels, including low voltage power and tunnel ventilation, and then move to a period of testing before handing over the assets required for Trial Running.
2. Train and Signalling – Build and integrate software
We need to build and test the software to integrate the train operating system on the new class 345 trains with the three different signalling systems that operate along the Elizabeth line route.
3. Stations Systems – Install and connect
We also need to install and test vital station systems including CCTV and public address systems, customer information displays, staff and emergency services radio systems and the data networks that will carry information to and from the route control centre in Romford.
4. Fully test the completed railway
When the above three major tasks are completed, we then enter Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (ROGS) regulations which will allow Crossrail to fully test the completed railway through Trial Running and Trial Operations. ROGS regulations provide a regulatory regime for rail safety, including London Underground.
The Elizabeth line has a number of a critical railway systems ranging from radio communications and power to tunnel ventilation and signalling. The remaining systems installation in the stations and tunnels will be completed this year. This will allow the new stations and rail infrastructure to be integrated with the rest of the railway.
Crossrail expects that Bombardier Transportation and Siemens will complete development of the train and signalling system this year allowing the train control system to be fully tested.
The train and signalling software are tested both off site and in the tunnel environment. Crossrail is currently using a signalling configuration called P_D+9. The software configuration (P_D+10) that is planned for use when we are in the Trial Running phase is now being tested in the Crossrail Integration Facility in Chippenham. This is helping refine the specific test activities that will be required next year. It is critical that this version of Siemens software meets the required functionality for Trial Running.
Gallery - Station Progress Films
Nine new Elizabeth line stations are being delivered as part of the Crossrail programme – Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House and Woolwich. The existing station at Abbey Wood has been extensively redeveloped by Network Rail.
At many stations, work is underway to complete the final fit-out and testing of key systems. Each Elizabeth line station has over 50 km of communications cabling, 200 CCTV cameras, 66 information displays, 200 radio antennas, 750 loudspeakers and 50 help points. All this technology needs to be fully installed, tested and integrated.
- Paddington (Costain Skanska Joint Venture): Work underway to complete the mechanical and electrical and systems installation + testing and commissioning activities + final fit-out
- Bond Street (Costain Skanska Joint Venture): Heavy mechanical and electrical and systems installation + start of testing & commissioning
- Tottenham Court Road (Laing O’Rourke): Testing and commissioning + assurance handover activities
- Farringdon (Bam Ferrovial Kier Joint Venture): Testing and commissioning + assurance handover activities
- Liverpool Street (Laing O’Rourke): Work underway to complete the mechanical and electrical and systems installation + testing and commissioning activities + final fit-out.
- Whitechapel (Balfour Beatty Morgan Sindall Vinci Joint Venture): Work underway to complete the mechanical and electrical and system installation + start of testing and commissioning (Crossrail areas)
- Canary Wharf: Work underway to complete mechanical and electrical and systems installation + testing and commissioning
- Custom House (Laing O’Rourke): Assurance handover activities
- Woolwich (Balfour Beatty): Testing and commissioning + assurance handover activities
For up-to-date information on construction activity for all 41 stations, please visit the Near You webpage.
Crossrail has successfully completed the first two major handovers, responsibility for Victoria Dock Portal and Pudding Mill Lane Portal have transferred to the infrastructure manager, Rail for London Infrastructure, who will now maintain these assets. There are 28 major handovers remaining – Mile End shaft will be the next of the shafts and portals to be handover ahead of the first major station and routeways handovers later this year. Crossrail has also removed the full height hoarding in the integrated ticket hall in Farringdon station which is a visible sign of progress on site.
Gallery - Shafts & Portals
The key priority for the programme is to ensure that all stations in the central section have reached a level of completion that will allow the Trial Running phase to commence and the operational railway to be fully tested in the first quarter of 2020.
Gallery - New hoarding at Farringdon station
Dynamic testing of the trains in the tunnels is underway using up to 4 x class 345 trains. A key purpose of testing is to identify and fix any software bugs in the train control system and to make sure everything works as planned.
Testing is being undertaken by a joint team of technical experts from Bombardier Transportation, Siemens and Crossrail. Testing currently takes place for four days each week and safety approval was obtained in August to proceed with close-headway, multi-train testing in ‘integrated’ mode which allows testing of the full signalling system in the central section. This is the first time this type of testing has taken place on the programme and is a significant achievement.
A series of software upgrades will be delivered to give the train control system its full functionality; this incremental approach to building up system-testing and verification will continue throughout 2019. Crossrail will trial run the trains over many thousands of miles on the new railway to shake out any problems and ensure the highest levels of safety and reliability.
Gallery - Maintenance Management Centre at Plumstead
The new Maintenance Management Centre at Plumstead is now ready for occupation and teams have already started to relocate to facilities on-site. Significant progress has also been made with the testing of ‘yellow plant’ engineering trains in the central section for the first time with signalling test undertaken at speeds of up to 20 mph.
The Tunnel and Underground Construction Academy at Ilford is being used for track asset training as well as for Transport for London (TfL) maintenance teams to support Crossrail contractors to complete outstanding overhead lines and signalling work.
MTR Crossrail are on course to start operating stopping services from Paddington mainline station to Reading in December this year under the TfL Rail brand.