In July, Crossrail Ltd
announced that the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood could not open in summer 2021. However, following its latest assessment in August the company said the central section will be ready to open in the first half of 2022.
“Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages and is being completed at a time of great uncertainty due to the risks and potential impacts of further Covid outbreaks.
“As work to complete the railway progresses, there may be opportunity to review and bring forward the opening of the central section, subject to progress during the intensive operational testing phase.”
Crossrail says it is planning to start ‘intensive operational testing’, known as Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity in 2021, adding that “it will then take a period of time to fully test the Elizabeth line before it can open for passenger service. This includes a final phase known as Trial Operations involving people being invited onto trains and stations to test real-time service scenarios to ensure the readiness of the railway.
“A programme of this scale and complexity was already challenging, with pressures on the schedule before Covid-19 became a factor; the impact of the pandemic has made the existing pressures more acute.”
Mark Wild, the chief executive of Crossrail Ltd, said: “Our focus remains on opening the Elizabeth line as soon as possible. Now more than ever Londoners are relying on the capacity and connectivity that the Elizabeth line will bring, and we are doing everything possible to deliver the railway as safely and quickly as we can.
“We have a comprehensive plan to complete the railway and we are striving to commence intensive operational testing for the Elizabeth line at the earliest opportunity.
“Delivery of the line is now in its complex final stages and is being completed at a time of great uncertainty due to the risk and potential impacts of further Covid outbreaks.
“We are working tirelessly to complete the remaining infrastructure works so that we can fully test the railway and successfully transition the project as an operational railway to Transport for London.
“Crossrail is one of the UK’s most complex infrastructure projects, comprised of millions of separate elements, all of which must work together reliably to ensure the successful operation of the railway and the safety of passengers who will use it every day.
“Much of the remaining work involves hooking up, integrating, testing and certifying the completed infrastructure and railway systems along with the finalisation of the extensive safety case to the Office of Rail and Road who will give the go-ahead to commence Trial Running.”