Crossrail has released what it says will be regular progress reports on how its getting towards a launch date for the Elizabeth line services.
They’ve confirmed that the 6-month range for launching the service remains somewhere between October 2020 and March 2021, but it’s still too early to narrow it down yet. The key focus for the rest of 2020 will be testing the line to ensure it works, and is safe to receive its operational license.
Crossrail has developed a list of 120 key programme milestones to enable the programme to progress to the Trial Operations phase and each must be successfully delivered to enable the Elizabeth line to open.
Over the past few months though, they’ve established a co-located joint team of senior technical experts from Bombardier, Siemens and Crossrail to drive forward a coordinated approach to Dynamic Testing of the train and signalling systems. This is to iron out software problems between the trains and the three different signalling systems.
Fit-out of the tunnels is almost complete, and Crossrail will shortly hand over the completed shafts and portals starting with Victoria Dock Portal.
Meanwhile, testing and commissioning activity is taking place at all central section stations except at Bond Street where fit-out and systems installation continues.
In early June they also started running trains in what’s known as close headway, multi-train testing within the tunnels.
By the end of this year, final fit-out and testing and commissioning are due to be completed at many stations and Dynamic Testing will be in its final stages. The Trial Running phase, which is essentially a fully working railway — minus the passengers — will commence in the first quarter of 2020.
Crossrail said that the main areas of programme risk and uncertainty are currently contractor productivity, software testing for the train and signalling systems and systems integration.
The central section of the Elizabeth line will open between Paddington and Abbey Wood and link the West End, the City of London, Canary Wharf and southeast London with initially 12 trains per hour during the peak. It is expected that all stations on the route will open except for Bond Street which is delayed because of design and delivery challenges.