The Office of Rail and Road, the railway regulator, has formally authorised the Elizabeth line (nee Crossrail) to open on Tuesday 24th May. When TfL announced the opening date, they did add a small caveat that it was subject to final regulatory approvals, which have now been granted.

Regulations set out that no new or upgraded infrastructure or rolling stock can be put into use on or as part of Britain’s rail system unless ORR has provided an ‘interoperability authorisation for the placing in service’ to ensure it meets appropriate requirements.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) says that it has now issued approvals for all the Elizabeth line stations – with the exception of Bond Street – confirming the stations and infrastructure meet the requirements for passenger use.

Abbey Wood, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Tottenham Court Road, Whitechapel and Woolwich stations have all been given the green light and issued with authorisations. Bond Street has been given the go-ahead, but only for safe evacuation procedures, as it will open for passengers later than the rest of the line.

The ORR has also authorised the overall routeway for the Elizabeth line’s track and tunnel infrastructure, to allow trains to run through the central section.

Steve Fletcher, Deputy Director of Engineering and Asset Management at the Office of Rail and Road, said: “Delivery of the Elizabeth line is in its very final complex stages, but we’ve been working closely with the Crossrail project and Transport for London for some time to ensure smooth progress of authorisations. This co-operation means we’ve been able to provide these approvals in a timely manner and ensure this state-of-the-art railway can enter into service safely and reliably for passengers, and meet the schedule opening date of 24 May.”

The ORR had previously approved the Elizabeth line Class 345 trains in 2020 and recently authorised the use of the GSM-R radio network for signalling communications.

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5 comments
  1. John W says:

    Finally, finally! This is understood to be a highly complex infrastructure project in every sense, and badly needed. While testing is critical, and delivery dates for tunnel, stations, signals, rolling stock etc. have to be adjusted accordingly, it is unclear why back in 2015-18 that more honest forecasts of the time required to complete the work and deliver the project could not have been provided. It must have been obvious to many back in 2016 onwards that the project was years away from delivery. Did managers etc. receive bonuses for saying that they were on schedule to deliver in 2018 back in 2017?

    Its good though that this project is line is finally going to function, and hopefully not have lots of glitches, though it is understood that we have to wait till mid/late 2023 for the line to fully operate with through trains.

  2. Paul Day says:

    State of the art? The rolling stock must join the list of trains in the country that are flipping uncomfortable. The seats are rock hard and every bump and vibration of the track is transferred into my bony backside by the ‘state of the art’ suspension. I live in east London and would not consider travelling all the way to Reading on one of these trains, it would be torture. Luckily I can choose the C2C line into Fenchurch Street which has lovely comfy seats at present. No Loos either on the Elizabeth Line trains, shall I just pee in the corner?

    • ianVisits says:

      No one would travel from East London to Reading on the Elizabeth line, as that would be slower than using GWR from Paddington.

      As for comfort – that’s subjective, but I personally find them to be fine.

      As for toilets, why are people obsessed about there not being toilets on a tube-style train service. No one complains about the lack of loos on the Nothern line trains.

  3. Frida says:

    More platform benches needed !
    Especially @ Whitechapel !
    Believe or not disabled customers, elderly, mums with prams, would want to use these services, if only for a few stops !

    • ianVisits says:

      How can you know how many platform benches are on the Elizabeth line platforms at Whitechapel before the line has opened to the public?

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