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.


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  1. Brian Butterworth says:


    Out of interest, does this mean that auto-reverser at Royal Oak sidings is now in proper use?

  2. Dave Evans says:

    If this Winter’s predictions on Covid and Winter Flu stretches London Hospitals to near breaking point. Will Crossrail step up to the plate and Allow all of London’s N.H.S key staff access to this country’s newest railway under the City.
    Andy Lord, has ruled this out. Yet how better to thank these dedicated and often abused first line workers, than giving them first crack of riding the rails.
    January 1st 2022 could become a major International P.R event, for both Crossrail and Transport for London, seeing our N.H.S becoming Test Passengers during Trail Operations. While at the same time keeping our Hospital staffed 24-7 in these dark months ahead.

    • ianVisits says:

      You say Andy Lord has ruled out letting NHS staff use a railway before it has been certified as safe by the rail regulator. Anyone who thinks about the implications of what you want would rule that out in less time than it took you to type your comment.

    • Ben says:

      Trail Operations is still testing. TfL staff won’t be using it to get from A to B, they will be standing around, getting asked to do a trial evacuations, emergency alerts etc. They are quite likely to run into problems at first, which might even include people being stuck on a train whilst they resolve the problem.

      No way should NHS staff be involved in this. Their work is stressful and tiring enough as it is. It would take staff away from the frontline, where they are needed more than ever.

    • ChrisC says:

      Speaking as a former NHS worker there is no way I’d be using a railway that hasn’t yet been fully certified as being suitable for passengers.

      And as someone who formerlly worked for a regulator there is no way it would be permitted anyway.

      Crossrail will start public services when its been given the regulatory approval to open and not on some random date not grounded in the reality of the certification process to generate some media attention (which it will garner whatever date it opens on)

  3. AL says:

    One thing that am confused about concerning the upgrades at Ilford station would be whether the lifts they plan on installing are for just platforms 3/4 at the main entrance or for all platforms (including for those times when westbound services stop on platform 1)?

    • Brian Butterworth says:

      Ilford “Accessible by three new lifts” suggests to me they will got all platforms. It’s Googleable…

  4. Paul says:

    There are STILL some original Greater Anglia trains running on TfL Rail from Liverpool Street. When are they going to be fully phased out?

  5. Alex Mckenna says:

    I wonder how often they have been using the Pudding Mill Lane portal.

    • Paul says:

      It is only used by 4 trains on a normal daily timetable but there have been 2 special Trial Running days on a Sunday and a couple more in Trial Operations where the timetable runs out from Whitechapel through Pudding Mill lane to Stratford and beyond. Overall several hundred trips so far at up to 12 trains per hour.

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