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 are due to 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 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. Train and Signalling – Build and test 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.
2. Tunnel Systems – Install and connect
We need to finish fit-out and installation of equipment in the tunnels, this includes pumps and drainage in the tunnels as well as low voltage power and lighting.
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 need to fully test the completed railway.
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 is tested both off site and in the tunnel environment. Crossrail currently using a signalling configuration called P_D+8. Testing with a later configuration (P_D+10) is due to commence in October, this is expected to be the release that enables progress to the Trial Running phase in the first quarter of 2020.
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 installation, testing and commissioning activity and final fit-out
- Bond Street (Costain Skanska Joint Venture): Heavy mechanical and electrical installation + final fit-out
- Tottenham Court Road (Laing O’Rourke): Testing and commissioning + final fit-out
- Farringdon (Bam Ferrovial Kier Joint Venture): Testing and commissioning + final fit-out
- Liverpool Street (Laing O’Rourke): Work underway to complete the mechanical and electrical installation, testing and commissioning activity and final fit-out.
- Whitechapel (Balfour Beatty Morgan Sindall Vinci Joint Venture): Work underway to complete the mechanical and electrical installation, testing and commissioning activity and final fit-out. (Crossrail areas)
- Canary Wharf: Testing and commissioning
- Custom House (Laing O’Rourke): Testing and commissioning
- Woolwich (Balfour Beatty): Work underway to complete the mechanical and electrical installation, testing and commissioning activity and final fit-out
For up-to-date information on construction activity for all 41 stations, please visit the Near You webpage.
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 which currently takes place for around 4 days each week. Trains have been operating in the tunnels at line speed (100 kph / 62 mph) using the new automatic signalling system. The current phase of testing is close-headway testing in the tunnels whereby trains are tested in close proximity to each other, progressively building the speed up to line speed and shifting from testing under driver control to under signalling control.
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.
The new Maintenance Management Centre at Plumstead is now ready for occupation and teams have already started to relocate to facilities on-site.
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.
Staff training of operational staff is currently taking place using signalling, power systems simulators and desk top exercises. Furthermore the operational staff are now starting to be engaged in support of the wider Dynamic Testing programme.