Crossrail Publishes ‘Realistic and Achievable’ Completion Plan

Crossrail Ltd has developed a new plan to complete the remaining works on the Elizabeth Line so that it can enter passenger service as soon as possible.

Crossrail Ltd says this plan sets out a timeline that is both “realistic and achievable”. The plan has given rise to an in-depth delivery control schedule that will track 120 key milestones.

Specifically, Crossrail says that final fit-out and testing and commissioning is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year at “many” stations. Crossrail also says it is on track to finish the fit-out and testing of the tunnels by January 2020.

Crossrail Canary Wharf station tunnel
Crossrail Canary Wharf station tunnel

In 2020 Crossrail will test the completed railway. These tests include an extensive period of trial operations to ensure the system is both safe and reliable. Crossrail says that the nature of the remaining work is quite complex. As a result it has provided quite a wide window for when services can start running on the Elizabeth Line through central London. This window is between October 2020 and March 2021. In April this year Crossrail published its plan to get back on track in which it said it estimated that the opening of the central section would take place in late 2020. The original opening date was December 2018. Crossrail says that over time it will be able to provide a more precise date.

Crossrail Ltd said:

“[...] this is the most difficult and challenging phase of the programme with significant integration and testing to complete. Crossrail continues to actively manage the three critical paths – train and signalling software, tunnel systems and stations, shafts and portals.”

Crossrail Handover Strategy and Plan

The Handover Strategy and Plan puts in place a pathway for the handover of each station, shaft, portal and railway system. There are 30 individual handover execution plans in total.

In September 2019 Crossrail successfully completed the first two major handovers. It transferred the responsibility for Victoria Dock Portal and Pudding Mill Lane Portal to the infrastructure manager, Rail for London Infrastructure, who will maintain these assets from hereon in. Of the 28 major handovers that are outstanding, Mile End shaft is next in line on the list of shafts and portals to be handed over prior to the first major station and routeway handovers, which will take place later this year.

Crossrail Timeline

  • Ongoing: dynamic testing using 4 Class 345 trains
  • October 2019: platform extension works at Maidenhead to be complete
  • Early November: Network Rail will complete the handover process for driver CCTV works
  • Early December: next Siemens software configuration PD+11
  • 15 December: MTR Crossrail to start operating stopping services from Paddington mainline station to Reading under the TfL Rail brand
  • January 2020: fit-out and testing of the tunnels complete
  • First quarter 2020: the operational railway to be fully tested
  • First quarter 2020: starting trial running
  • End of 2020: station enhancement works to be complete at Ilford and Romford

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