Crossrail has reached a crucial landmark in its journey to Trial Running and the start of intensive operational testing next year.
The cross-London rail project has started System Integration Dynamic Testing (SIDT), the enabling phase for Trial Running, which sees the number of test trains in the new tunnels increase from the current four to eight.
During the SIDT period, testing is carried out on complex systems where they will be testing scenarios as close to operational conditions as possible. Signalling and control of the railway will all take place from the new control centre at Romford. Drivers will be operating a maximum of eight trains, simulating a timetabled service across the Elizabeth line central section.
That is a considerable step up from the four trains in operation at any one time during the recently completed software testing phase of the programme, further helping to build operational reliability.
Mark Wild, Chief Executive, Crossrail Ltd, said: “This is an incredibly important milestone for Crossrail to reach and puts us firmly on the journey to unlocking Trial Running next year. We are doing everything possible to deliver the Elizabeth line as safely and as quickly as we can, and we know that Londoners are relying on the capacity and connectivity the Elizabeth line will bring.
“This milestone also marks the incorporation of our Romford control room colleagues into the testing process, another sign that we are moving ever closer to our final goal of an operational railway."
Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages. Good progress continues to be made with completing remaining infrastructure works so that Crossrail can begin Trial Running at the earliest opportunity in 2021.
Many of the stations are nearing completion and Crossrail will shortly complete the handover of the shafts and portals to TfL. All the central section stations are now certified as ready for Trial Running after Bond Street achieved this in October. Custom House station has already been handed over to TfL and Farringdon station is due to be handed over in the new year.
When fully open the Elizabeth line will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10 per cent, able to carry more than half a million passengers per day and will support new journeys through central London out to Essex and Berkshire. The new railway will slash journey times, create much-needed capacity, protect social distancing, transform accessibility and provide a huge economic boost.
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Crossrail expects to commence Trial Running as soon as possible at the earliest opportunity in 2021. From the start of Trial Running it will take a period of time to test the Elizabeth line before it can open for passenger service. This includes a final phase known as Trial Operations which involves more than 150 operational scenarios being tested.