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Our Plan to Complete the Elizabeth Line

Crossrail Ltd plans to bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service as soon as practically possible in 2021.

Our focus is on meeting the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19 and keeping the programme moving forward. For further information, please visit Our New Ways of Working webpage.

Crossrail are increasing efforts to complete the outstanding construction and assurance activities for Trial Running. This will be supported by a 5-week construction blockade, beginning in August, across our tunnels, shafts and portals to complete critical construction works in the routeway for Trial Running.

During the blockade we will also undertake further integration testing of the routeway which must be completed for Trial Running – there are 25 different scenarios that must be completed fully tested and completed ranging from a reboot of the central section signalling system to a High Voltage power outage. Routeway Integration Testing for Trial Running is 60 per cent complete.

Crossrail Ltd is working to ensure that the programme is ready to commence intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, and deliver the opening of the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood at the earliest opportunity.


KEY STEPS TO TRIAL RUNNING

Crossrail is working to ensure that the programme is ready to commence intensive operational testing at the earliest opportunity. Once Crossrail completes the remaining programme of works for Trial Running, we will seek regulatory approval from the Office of Rail and Road to commence intensive testing. This will see multiple trains operating in the tunnels to simulate the Elizabeth line timetable.

To commence Trial Running, Crossrail needs to complete the remaining key steps:

  • All central section stations certified as ready to support Trial Running
  • Complete handover of the shafts and portals to Transport for London (TfL)
  • Complete Dynamic Testing of the signalling and train systems
  • Handover the completed Routeway to TfL
  • Complete the safety and assurance process for the Elizabeth line and obtain regulatory approval from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to commence Trial Running.

Once Trial Running begins a period of time will be required to fully test the Elizabeth line before it can open for passenger service. This includes a final phase known as Trial Operations involving people being invited onto trains and stations to test real-time service scenarios.

Key steps to Trial Running


RAILWAY TESTING

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The Elizabeth line has a number of critical railway systems ranging from radio communications and power to tunnel ventilation and signalling.

 

The major programme focus now is on completing the software development for the signalling and train systems along with safety certification for the railway to support the programme’s entry into intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity.

The train and signalling software are tested both off-site and in the tunnel environment. 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. For further information, please visit our Signalling and Testing webpage.

Testing is being undertaken by a joint team of technical experts from Bombardier Transportation, Siemens and Crossrail. A series of software upgrades will be delivered to give the train control system its full functionality.

The latest Siemens software configuration, PD+11, was installed in the central tunnels in December, and testing resumed at the end of May following Crossrail’s safe stop in response to COVID-19.

Testing of PD+11 software will conclude prior to the construction blockade and will mean that Crossrail has a viable software product available for Trial Running. The next evolution of software, referred to as TR2, will be ready for Trial Running and will commence testing after the blockade.

Crossrail must also complete a number of scenario tests of the railway systems prior to Trial Running including high voltage power and smoke extraction testing.

This is the most difficult and challenging phase of the programme with significant integration and testing to complete. This must be done to the highest quality standards to ensure the reliability of the railway from day one of passenger service.

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NEW STATIONS

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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. All stations, except Bond Street, are now certified as ready to support Trial Running.

  • 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: Heavy mechanical and electrical systems installation + start of testing & commissioning activities
  • Tottenham Court Road (Laing O’Rourke): Testing & commissioning + assurance handover activities
  • Farringdon (Bam Ferrovial Kier Joint Venture): Testing & commissioning + assurance handover activities
  • Liverpool Street (Laing O’Rourke): Work underway to complete the mechanical and electrical and systems installation + testing & 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 & commissioning activities (Crossrail areas)
  • Canary Wharf: Work underway to complete mechanical and electrical systems installation + testing & commissioning activities
  • Custom House (Laing O’Rourke): Handed over to Transport for London (TfL)
  • Woolwich (Balfour Beatty): Testing & commissioning + assurance handover activities

For up-to-date information on construction activity for all 41 stations, please visit the Near You webpage.

All central section stations, except Bond Street, have now been certified as ready to support Trial Running. Bond Street is uniquely affected by the new COVID-19 world due to the volume of work remaining and the number of people required on site to complete the station. This meant that the work remaining at Bond Street for Trial Running needed to be re-planned. As a result, Crossrail Ltd and Costain Skanska Joint Venture mutually agreed to conclude the existing contract on 24 June. Crossrail Ltd will oversee completion of the remaining works at Bond Street which will allow to re-plan and complete the work for Trial Running.

Much of the central section infrastructure is now complete and fit-out is nearing completion at many stations. We have now handed over eight of the 30 big engineering structures to Transport for London (TfL): Custom House station; Royal Oak, Victoria Dock, Pudding Mill Lane and North Woolwich Portals; and Fisher Street, Mile End and Limmo Shafts.

The Crossrail programme is progressing assurance of the railway, which is required for entry into the Trial Running stage remains a priority. For further information, please visit our Assurance and Handover webpage.


OPERATIONAL READINESS

The full-length Class 345 trains (9 car units) have been operating on services out of Paddington and are approved for Heathrow services but the requirement for a critical software update means they are currently replaced by 7 car units.