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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.

With much of the central section now substantially complete the key focus is completing software development for the signalling and train systems along with the complex safety assurance certification for the railway to support the programme’s entry into intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity. This will see multiple trains operating in the tunnels to simulate the Elizabeth line timetable.

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.

Crossrail Ltd expects to open the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood in summer 2021.

Following the opening of the central section, full services across the Elizabeth line route from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east will commence by mid-2022. This will connect the eastern and western sections straight through central London.


THE FOUR MAJOR TASKS

The Four Major Tasks (Nov 2019)

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 before handing over the assets required for the Trial Running phase.

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, and this needs to reach a sufficient level of reliability for the Trial Running phase.

3. Stations Systems – Install and connect

We also need to install and test vital station systems 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, it will allow the Trial Running phase to commence and the operational railway to be fully tested.


RAILWAY SYSTEMS

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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 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.

The latest Siemens software configuration, PD+11, was installed in the central tunnels in December. PD+11 is now safely approved for testing all areas of the railway including using single train, multi-train and close-headway, as well as with multiple running across the transition boundaries.

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.

Our primary critical path to Trial Running is through the handover of the shafts, portals and routeway to TfL as the infrastructure manager, and for all of the central section stations to reach a sufficient level of completion to support Trial Running.

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.


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.

  • 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 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.

A Handover Strategy and Plan which sets the way forward for all 30-individual handover execution plans have been written for each station, shaft, portal and railway system has been developed.

Fit-out is nearing completion at many stations, we have handed over the first five of the 30 big engineering structures to Transport for London: Royal Oak Portal: Victoria Dock Portal, Pudding Mill Portal, Mile End Shaft and Custom House station.

The focus remains on making continued progress with the handover and assurance process along with certification for the railway including the completion of Dynamic Testing. Over 200,000 documents must be completed as part of this assurance process. For further information, please visit our Assurance and Handover webpage.


RAILWAY TESTING

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Dynamic testing of the train control system 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 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; this incremental approach to building up system-testing and verification will continue during 2020.

Crossrail will then commence Trial Running 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.

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OPERATIONAL READINESS

All services to and from Reading are now being operated with full length Class 345 trains (9 carriages), replacing the shorter length trains (7 carriages) that have now been transferred to the Shenfield line and have allowed the 30-year old Class 315 trains to be withdrawn.

The Office of Road and Rail (ORR) has approved the application to operate the full-length Class 345 stock for Stage 2B (Heathrow to Paddington).