ORR Issues Approvals for Elizabeth Line Opening

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has issued authorisations to all Elizabeth line (Crossrail) stations due to open on 24 May, confirming the infrastructure is ready for passenger use.

Abbey Wood, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Tottenham Court Road, Whitechapel and Woolwich stations have all been approved for service. Bond Street, which will not open for passengers until later this year, has only been authorised for safe evacuation procedures.

ORR has also approved the overall routeway for the track and tunnel infrastructure, which will allow Elizabeth line trains to run through the central section.

ORR Farringdon Elizabeth line station
The new railway will transform how Londoners and visitors cross the capital, with journeys from Paddington to Canary Wharf taking just 18 minutes
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 must approve all new or upgraded infrastructure or rolling stock for Britain’s rail system before it can be put into service. It has worked closely with the Crossrail project over the last two years to ensure the Elizabeth line meets the necessary technical, safety and accessibility requirements.

The regulator approved the Elizabeth line Class 345 fleet in 2020 and recently authorised use of the Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R), which delivers digital communications between drivers and signallers to help increase safety and reduce delays. The track access contract between Rail for London (Infrastructure) Ltd, the infrastructure manager for the Crossrail Central Operating Section, and MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Ltd has also been authorised.

Howard Smith, Elizabeth line Director, said:

“With final preparations underway ahead of opening the Elizabeth line on Tuesday 24 May, we have been working closely with ORR on getting the final authorisations for our stations, trains and other infrastructure that will mean we can operate the new railway safely and reliably for all our future customers.”

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