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 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. 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.
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.
Central Section Progress
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.
We have now achieved 19 of 22 Tier One Substantial Demobilisation (TOSD) milestones – Tier One Substantial Demobilisation means that the vast majority of the physical works have been completed by the Tier One contractor and final fit-out is underway. We are planning to hand over the remaining three TOSD dates - Victoria Dock Portal, Mile End Shaft and Pudding Mill Lane Shaft – over the next month. Handover of these assets will be a significant achievement and an important sign of progress on our journey to bring the Elizabeth line into operation.
Main Dynamic Testing
Dynamic testing of the trains in the tunnels is 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 4-days each week and we have now commenced close headway multi-train testing in the tunnels. During this new phase of testing we will begin to progressively build the speed of the trains up to line speed and shift from doing this testing under driver control to under signalling control.
Testing of converged software between Siemens and Bombardier has also commenced in the offsite Crossrail Integration Facility in Chippenham. This helps build confidence in the software before implementation in the tunnel environment which is expected in July. This will be an important milestone for us as it will allow us to test a greater level of functionality.
We are working collaboratively with both Siemens and Bombardier to develop the software maturity that is essential if we are to achieve our aim of entry to full Trial Running early next year.
The maintenance team for the Elizabeth line will move into the new Maintenance Management Centre at Plumstead later this month. This team continues to undertake maintenance activities on some existing stations currently operated by TfL Rail and also continues to support Crossrail contractors with overhead lines, signalling and track inspection work.
Network Rail continued delivery of its infrastructure to support the Stage 5A TfL Rail service between Paddington and Reading in December 2019. Extension of the platforms at West Drayton, Maidenhead and Slough continue, with installation of camera posts for driver’s CCTV at eight stations between Reading and West Drayton expected to be completed next month.
Enhancements at stations between Hayes & Harlington and Acton Main Line are progressing. Programmes have now been submitted by the two contractors who were awarded the work for six of the stations in May and these programmes have been accepted by Network Rail.
On the east, the programme for completion of work at the Harold Wood ticket office has now been received from Network Rail and their contractor has now mobilised, and the ticket office at Goodmayes has now been made available for fit-out.