It was due to open in December 2018, but Crossrail has now confirmed that they are unlikely to open until December 2020, and Bond Street station even later.
Following a review, and citing the complexity of the remaining work, Crossrail has identified a six-month window for delivery of the central section, with a midpoint at the end of 2020.
As was previously indicated, TfL Rail expects to take over the mainline service between Reading and Paddington this December. That will work in common with the existing TfL Rail service between Shenfield and Liverpool Street.
Following a detailed audit of the programme, including what went wrong in the past, the new team has produced a plan to put the central core of the project back on track.
That gives a launch window of October 2020 to March 2021 for the core tunnels, and they expect to be able to narrow down the window as they progress with the fit out. December 2020 still looks the most comfortable date as that’s when mainline timetables change, but Crossrail has been burnt before when committing to dates, so is being more careful this time.
It is expected that all stations on the route will open except for Bond Street Station, which is heavily delayed because of design and delivery challenges.
Once the central section opens, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east, will commence as soon as possible.
As the work proceeds Crossrail says that it will be providing regular progress reports, and increasingly specific estimates of when the Elizabeth line will open.
Crossrail expects that the remaining fit-out and systems installation in the stations and tunnels will be completed this year. This will allow the new stations and rail infrastructure to be integrated with the rest of the railway. Crossrail also expects that Bombardier Transportation and Siemens will complete development of the train and signalling software this year allowing the train control system to be fully tested.
Dynamic testing of the trains in the tunnels is now underway with intensive work to increase the reliability of the train software to enable trains to successfully operate across the three signalling systems on the Elizabeth line. Trains have been operating at line speed (100 kph / 62 mph) in the central section using the new automatic signalling system and multi-train testing will soon get underway.
The central section works are expected to be delivered within the funding package agreed by the Mayor, Government and Transport for London in December 2018.