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.
The high-level plan to complete the railway has progressed into a logically linked and detailed Delivery Control Schedule. Around 120 key milestones have been identified and are being tracked.
Fit-out of the tunnels is almost complete with minor works remaining. By the end of the year, final fit-out and testing and commissioning is due to be completed at many stations. 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.
As the programme to complete and test the railway progresses, Crossrail Ltd will be able to provide increasing certainty about when the Elizabeth line will open.
Central Section Progress
Gallery - Station Progress Films
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.
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
Main Dynamic Testing
Dynamic Testing of the trains in the tunnels remains underway using 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 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.
The software configuration 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 - Maintenance Management Centre at Plumstead
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.
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.
Network Rail is continuing to progress the infrastructure works required for TfL Rail services to Reading to commence in December 2019. Platform extension works at West Drayton, Slough and Maidenhead are currently on target and due to be complete later in September.
Hayes & Harlington, Southall, and West Drayton station enhancement works are continuing whilst works at Action Main Line, Ealing Broadway and West Ealing have now commenced.
At the end of August Network Rail awarded the contract for the enhancement works at Ilford and Romford stations.