The final stage of testing the Crossrail line before it can open to the public is on target to start next month.
In his regular update to the London Assembly, Crossrail’s CEO, Mark Wild outlined recent work on the project. For the past few months, the trains have been running the 12 trains per hour (tph) service that is needed to build the millage and prove the reliability of the line and the signalling systems.
During the trial running, they’ve delivered 95% of the 12tph service that was required, which is in line with expectations, and the next software release, known as ELR100 will be installed over the next few weeks and is one of the last major configurations before revenue service.
The trial running of the trains was paused earlier this month as previously announced to allow for a 2-week focus on finishing off works in the tunnels and on the platforms in the stations, and a reduced level trial running of the trains has now resumed pending the new software being installed. The final railway integration tests to ensure all the components work together seamlessly have now been completed with the exception of the final integration of Bond Street. These tests covered the tunnel ventilation system, trains, software, signalling, platform screen doors and power systems.
The next phase for Crossrail will be Trial Operations, which involves testing more than 150 real-time scenarios to ensure the readiness of the railway for the general public. That’ll involve hundreds of TfL staff simulating problems on the line to prove that the processes for handling them works as planned.
Mark Wild has confirmed that this is on target to start later next month. This marks the final major phase of works needed before the line can open to the public.
While Trial Operations is being carried out, there will be some final testing and software adjustments undertaken over Christmas to get the system to a level that can safely support passenger service.
Eight of the ten central core stations have now been handed over to TfL to manage, leaving Canary Wharf, which should be handed over early next month, then the late-running Bond Street.
The stations are not just for passengers in normal times, but also act as evacuation sites if the worst happens, and there is a minimum distance allowed between such evacuation sites, which is part of the reason why there are shafts along the tunnels – for ventilation and evacuation. At Bond Street, they have completed the necessary works to allow it to be used as an evacuation site if needed, and that means they can open the railway for passengers while still complying with the safety requirement to be able to evacuate trains in tunnels.
Elsewhere, the TfL Rail branded service running into Liverpool Street station is still using some of the earlier seven-car Elizabeth line trains, and the roll-out of full-length nine-car trains will resume after the latest software upgrade is installed, and that will also enable the trains in the eastern side to run unhindered through the core tunnels to Old Oak Common for maintenance.
Works at Ilford and Romford station are due to be completed next February.
Progress of the project is due to be discussed next month at London Assembly Transport Committee on 16th November, and at TfL’s Elizabeth Line Committee on 25th November.