Crossrail Ltd: Our Plan to Get Back on Track

Crossrail Ltd, who have been in the news lately because of the delays to the opening of the Elizabeth Line. The company has now outlined plans for completing the new railway line in the British capital. The central section of the Elizabeth Line was initially due to open in December 2018. Crossrail now estimates the central section opening will take place in late 2020.

Crossrail Ltd Whitechapel Construction Progress
Whitechapel Construction Progress © Crossrail Ltd

The Crossrail Ltd Board has taken stock of past mistakes. It has now put forward solutions so that the Elizabeth Line can open as quickly as possible. To achieve this, Crossrail Ltd has had to identify and re-sequence in excess of 100,000 interdependent tasks.

Problems with the Train and Signalling Systems

Crossrail Ltd says that there are still a large number of risks and uncertainties regarding both the development and testing of the train and signalling systems. Consequently, it has decided on a six-month delivery window with a midpoint at the end of next year. The central section of the Elizabeth Line in question will connect Paddington and Abbey Wood with 12 trains per hour during peak times.

Elizabeth Line Stations

Once the central section opens, Bond Street will remain closed because of “design and delivery challenges”. This too is an issue Crossrail wishes to remedy as quickly as possible in partnership with the Costain Skanska Joint Venture. The remaining eight stations will open.

Each of the nine stations will have more than 50km of communications cabling. They will also have 200 CCTV cameras, 66 information displays, 200 radio antennas, 750 loudspeakers and 50 help points.

Main Tasks Necessary for Crossrail Opening

Crossrail Ltd has identified four main tasks it needs to focus on. They are:

  1. build and test the software to integrate the train-operating system with three different signalling systems
  2. install and test vital station systems
  3. complete the installation of the equipment in tunnels and test the communications systems
  4. then trial run the trains for several thousand miles on the completed railway to ensure reliable and safe operation when the trains enter passenger service

2019 Works

All the remaining fit-out and systems installation works in the stations and tunnels should be completed by the end of 2019, says Crossrail Ltd. The company furthermore expects Siemens and Bombardier Transportation to finish the development of the train and signalling software so that the train control system can undergo rigorous testing.

Mark Wild, Chief Executive, Crossrail Ltd, said:

“I share the frustration of Londoners that the huge benefits of the Elizabeth line are not yet with us. But this plan allows Crossrail Ltd and its contractors to put the project back on track to deliver the Elizabeth line. Crossrail is an immensely complex project and there will be challenges ahead particularly with the testing of the train and signalling systems but the Elizabeth line is going to be incredible for London and really will be worth the wait. This new plan will get us there and allow this fantastic new railway to open around the end of next year.”

Tony Meggs, Chairman, Crossrail Ltd, said:

“Both the Crossrail Board and the Crossrail leadership team fully recognise the seriousness of the challenges we face. The Crossrail Board is pleased with the progress by the new Crossrail leadership team to get a grip on the project and pull together a robust and realistic plan to complete the Elizabeth line. An enhanced governance structure has been put in place to strengthen the Crossrail programme. The Crossrail Board will be holding the leadership team to account as they work to complete the railway. We will be open and transparent about our progress and will be providing Londoners and London businesses with regular updates as we seek to rebuild trust with all our stakeholders.”

Dynamic Testing

Dynamic testing of the Class 345 rolling stock is already under way. The trains are being put through their paces at line speed, which is 100km/h or 62mph. Crossrail Ltd says that multi-train testing will begin shortly.

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