The Elizabeth Line Committee has that Bond Street station will still struggle to open with the rest of the Elizabeth line, which is currently officially still “as soon as possible in the first half of 2022”.

Bond Street had been running a whopping 18-months behind schedule two years ago but had managed to catch up to being roughly 3-months behind schedule now.

With the opening of the Elizabeth line imminent, Bond Street has now met its requirement to support Trial Operations, this means the station is ready for full-scale passenger evacuations and emergency intervention.

A statement in the Committee minutes that the station “has been decoupled from the opening of the railway” was a reference to the testing of the Elizabeth line, not, as previously reported, not a confirmation that the station wouldn’t open.

There had also been some discussions last year looking into an idea that Bond Street station could be partially opened, either as interchange with the tube lines or with just one of the two new entrances opening.

The other outstanding station, Canary Wharf station, which needed a lot of remedial works, reportedly due to changes in fire safety regulations, had been due to be handed over to TfL last November. It’s now expected to be handed over in the next few weeks.

The Elizabeth line focused upgrades at Ilford and Romford stations are being carried out by Network Rail. Romford should be completed during April, and Ilford is being reviewed following problems with the concrete slab for the ticket hall.

Since the commissioning works over the Christmas period, train testing in the central tunnel section has been running 12 trains per hour with the new signalling software. This represents the initial level of service on the Abbey Wood to Paddington section of the Elizabeth line when it opens to passengers.

The last of the seven-car Elizabeth line trains operating between Liverpool Street and Shenfield were replaced with nine-car trains in December, and all of the seven-car trains are now based at Old Oak Common depot for use on the Reading to Paddington TfL Rail service while they are progressively converted to nine-car trains ahead of the post-opening upgrade of the Elizabeth line that will see Reading trains run through to Abbey Wood.

However, they note that further software upgrades have just been installed after the current train control systems were still not delivering the expected level of reliability.

Elsewhere, Crossrail has confirmed, as expected, that the Christmas updates to the train software to ELR110, and to the tunnel ventilation systems took place as planned.

The update to the tunnel systems was critical to running the mass evacuation trials, which are running two weeks later than planned, and due to start before the end of this month, once they clear out a backlog from the earlier trials.

Once complete, the trials will be followed by a period of shadow running, operating timetabled services ahead of the Elizabeth line’s eventual opening.

Updated 2:20pm – The story originally reported that Bond Street station would not open with the rest of the Elizabeth line. I’ve been informed that the statement in the minutes about decoupling referred only to testing, not the opening of the line.

The reference to Crossrail Board was incorrect, the meeting will be the Elizabeth Line Committee.

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15 comments
  1. alistair T says:

    the canary wharf situation is an odd one, I suspect it must be a rail-specific fire requirement as the updates to the building regulations would not have an effect on a non-residential building of that height… and in any case i’m sure the building was given a completion certificate a few years ago by building control and would now be treated as an existing building by them. Unless a fire engineering approach was used and there was equipment not installed / commissioned at the time. I seem to remember they had some hefty smoke extract systems there.

  2. Alex Mckenna says:

    I can sympathize with the people struggling with the software issues. I spent a whole day fighting a second-hand Mac Mini which refused to let me downgrade its system OS to an older version which would be compatible with my old software. It was like trying to navigate country lanes without a map. Numerous attempts were initially hopeful then blocked at the last moment – “Computer Says No”… I won in the end though.

  3. UCHE MICK CHINONSO says:

    This travesty will be the strong reason to either downgrade Crossrail 2 to a Tube line, or scrap it altogether.

    • Melvyn says:

      The tunnels on Crossrail were successful part of the project and so building Crossrail 2 for Mainline trains is logical for a line that will be used for centuries to come .

      Crossrail is really late it’s the announcement of an opening date a decade early when construction began that was wrong and mustn’t be released with future schemes!

    • ChrisC says:

      If you think a new tube line wouldn’t have the same or similar issues then think again.

  4. john boy says:

    Is Crossrail looking to hire “extras” to provide crowds whilst they are testing evacuations, fire drills etc.?

    • ianVisits says:

      No, they have enough staff to handle it.

    • Peter James says:

      I’m one of the people who’ll be a test passenger for their evacuation tests that are happening during February and March and they’ve just sent out an email to 5000 staff (who are allowed to bring guests) inviting them to the exercises. So plenty of people on their books as Ian says – but if you know anyone that works for TfL or a subsidiary company it may be worth asking them if they’ve registered as a volunteer and whether you can join them.

  5. Kevin Roche says:

    Don’t you mean 39 months?

  6. Dan Coleman says:

    Alistair re: Canary Wharf, as far as I understand via insider knowledge and previous press releases.

    Firstly, Canary Wharf Group did not exactly meet TfL’s safety standards when completing the station. So a lot of remedial work has been taking place since 2018 to rectify this, including fire systems. The work is still not complete.

    Secondly, Canary Wharf is suffering a bit from been finished too early! The station has been largely complete since 2015, but will be commissioned with the rest of the line against today’s standards. Naturally this causes many small but significant changes after 7 years.

    You are quite right, the building itself is signed off (the upper levels have business tenants and is open to the public) but there are multiple layers of safety for the station/operational railway that haven’t been met yet.

  7. D H says:

    They had to replace the platform surface at Canary Wharf as it was too slippery. Apparently

    • Chris Rogers says:

      Reminds me of the destination indicators on the 1990s Central Line stock that couldn’t withstand, er, sunlight and had to be replaced (after months of tube trains with paper signs in their windows).

  8. Lionel Ward says:

    re: Canary Wharf crossrail station. The roof garden is rather lovely. We take our infant there in the pushchair for her afternoon nap every couple of days. Last summer there were many bird species in the trees, quite a juxtaposition with the glass towers of Canada Square looming nearby

    It will get busier no doubt after crossrail opens, so maybe good to savour now

  9. Mike Harvey says:

    I think I read somewhere that changes in tunnelling technology & methods mean that there is not much (if any) cost reduction by making bored tunnels traditional LT tube size any longer, and that apart from extensions to existing deep-level tubes, future London rail tunnels are likely to be main-line size.

    • ianVisits says:

      Larger tunnels are considerably more expensive, not because of the larger tunnelling machine, or the larger tunnel linings — but because of the muck that has to be removed, and that makes up a huge part of the cost of digging a tunnel.

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