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Crossrail Project Update

By Crossrail Ltd

Crossrail Project Update

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, except for Bond Street and Whitechapel stations, 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.


COVID-19

Essential and business critical work has been continuing across the programme supported by those across Crossrail Ltd and our supply chain working virtually. The focus for everyone on Crossrail is progressing programme activity that supports our entry into intensive operational testing, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity.

Many of those who are working virtually are progressing the vital assurance and safety certification that must be completed before the Elizabeth line can open. These tasks are being assisted by small teams of engineers who are conducting assurance verification and validation work at the central station sites. This work, which is not construction activity, involves photographing and inspecting physical assets and allows Crossrail to maintain momentum without compromising the safety of the workforce or the public. All sites where this activity is taking place are fully compliant with Government guidance.

Physical works on all Crossrail sites were temporarily paused on 24 March. This decision was taken in accordance with the guidance at the time from the Government and Public Health England, to ensure that our sites complied with the guidance on social distancing to keep our workforce safe and recognising the need to reduce the number of people using public transport. Our priority throughout has been the safety of both our staff and the wider community.

The timing for the recommencement of physical works on Crossrail project sites continues to be informed by the latest guidance from the Government and Public Health England which we have been closely tracking. Crossrail is working with its contractors to enable physical works at stations to get back up and running. When physical works resume, all sites will continue to observe strict social distancing protocols with the numbers of people at each location strictly limited at all times and workers will be required to avoid the use of public transport.

Covid-19 will have an impact on the programme but it is too early to tell exactly how the impact will be felt. Work is underway to understand the impacts, as far as possible and we will be able to update the London Assembly and our stakeholders over the coming months. For now we are focussing on getting as much done as we can, while ensuring that our people stay safe.


Central Section Progress

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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.

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: Victoria Dock Portal, Pudding Mill Portal, Mile End Shaft, Custom House station and Royal Oak Portal.

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Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Woolwich have also achieved Staged Completion 1 (SC1) which is an essential requirement for entering Trial Running

All physical work for tunnels, shafts and portals is complete and all Platform Screen Doors have been commissioned.


Main Dynamic Testing

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The Crossrail programme is now at the stage where we are progressing assurance of the railway.

A priority for the programme now is the pivot to completing the activities capable of being undertaken in a remote working environment – primarily assurance activities and a small selection of pre-approved works on site that unlock further assurance opportunities. The programme has made substantial progress in transforming processes for assurance documentation focusing on the requirements for Trial Running.


Assurance

The Crossrail programme is now at the stage where we are progressing assurance of the railway.

Assurance documentation required for entry into the Trial Running stage remains a priority. The programme has made substantial progress in transforming processes for assurance documentation focusing on the requirements for Trial Running.


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.

Crossrail is currently awaiting approval of the application to the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) to operate the full-length Class 345 stock for Stage 2B (Heathrow to Paddington). This authorisation is expected shortly.


Network Rail

In line with Crossrail’s safe stop and the general industry response to COVID-19, Network Rail temporarily paused station enhancement work on the east and west of the route.

Network Rail have been identifying opportunities that can be progressed to support delivery and will be resuming enhancement work in May whilst adhering to latest Government and Public Health England guidance.