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Crossrail Project Update

By Crossrail Ltd

Crossrail Ltd plans to bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service as soon as practically possible. Our focus is on meeting the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19 and keeping the programme moving forward.

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


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 (ORR) 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:

  • Complete handover of the shafts and portals to TfL
  • Complete Dynamic Testing of the signalling and train systems
  • Complete integration testing across the routeway for Trial Running
  • All central section stations certified as ready to support Trial Running
  • Handover the completed Routeway to TfL
  • Complete the safety and assurance process for the Elizabeth line and obtain regulatory approval from the 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.

CRL Key Steps to Trial Running


Essential and business critical work has been continuing across the programme. In line with the latest government guidance, physical works on sites have now resumed and Dynamic Testing of the train control systems in the tunnels has recommenced.

Crossrail sites are observing strict social distancing protocols and the numbers of people at each location is limited at all times.

Crossrail are increasing efforts to complete the outstanding construction and assurance activities for Trial Running. This will be supported by a 6-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 now 71 per cent complete.


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

Following Plumstead Portal and Eleanor Street successfully achieving their Staged Completion for Familiarisation state in July, only one of the ten Shafts and Portals remain to achieve this, and we expect Stepney Green Shaft to achieve this in mid-August.

Staged Completion for Familiarisation is the step before full handover and means that the safety critical works have been completed with only minor works and assurance documentation left to complete. This will be managed with dedicated resource and allows Rail for London to start familiarising itself with the asset.

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 in-house at Bond Street which will allow to re-plan and complete the work for Trial Running.

Planning continues for the early station transfer of Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon to Transport for London (TfL).


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Dynamic Testing of the train control system is advanced. A key purpose of testing is to identify and fix any software in the train control system and make sure everything works as planned.

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 is nearing completion meaning that Crossrail will have a viable software product available for Trial Running. Prior to starting the construction blockade the remaining signalling tests will be carried out so that any changes to the software can be incorporated ahead of the new releases in the autumn.

The next evolution of software, referred to as TR2, will be ready for Trial Running and will commence testing after the construction blockade. TR2 software will be uploaded for Dynamic Testing this autumn which will allow us to increase the number of trains that we are able to undertake testing with.

The testing on the high voltage power systems is now complete and evaluated how the network recovers following power outage. We are also making good progress with the complex routeway integration scenario testing for Trial Running, which now sits at 71% complete.

Work is underway on the activities that need to be completed after the blockade including the assurance of the TR2 software configuration and the commencement of the Systems Integration Dynamic Testing (SIDT). SIDT will provide us with an opportunity to start testing how well our systems work in operational-like situations. We will be undertaking SIDT as we complete the complex assurance evidence to be submitted to the Office for Rail and Road (ORR).

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The Crossrail programme is progressing assurance of the railway. Assurance documentation required for entry into Trial Running remains a priority.

All safety documentation for the routeway has been submitted by the contractor and is an important step in the journey to Trial Running.

Much of the remaining work for the Elizabeth line is complex involving hooking up, integrating and testing the completed infrastructure and railway systems along with the finalisation of the extensive safety case to the ORR who will give the go-ahead to commence Trial Running.


The full-length Class 345 trains (9 car units) are now operating on services out of Paddington and Heathrow. This is a significant milestone as it uses the ETCS signalling system and means that we continue to build mileage on the Class 345 fleet that will be used on the full Elizabeth line.

Operational training has restarted, and maintenance training will re-commence at the beginning of August, both using safe, social distancing procedures. TfL teams continue to work with Crossrail colleagues on handover of the shafts and portals, progressing the complex assurance including the digital asset data and preparing for the intensive Trial Running phase of the project.


Network Rail’s major upgrade of the existing railway and stations on the east and west of the Elizabeth line is now into its final stages.

Following the temporary pause to the station enhancement works and necessity to adhere to social distancing measures, Network Rail are evaluating the impact on their construction. However, the completion of step-free works along the east and west of the route are being prioritised.