Elizabeth line officially receives final approvals from ORR

ORR have officially given London’s Elizabeth line the green light ahead of it’s opening on 24 May 2022.

Elizabeth line ORR

London’s Elizabeth line has officially received its final authorisations of its trains, stations, and infrastructure from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) rail regulator ahead of its opening on 24 May 2022.

ORR has issued approvals for all the Elizabeth line stations, with the exception of Bond Street, confirming the stations and infrastructure meet the requirements for passenger use. Abbey Wood, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Tottenham Court Road, Whitechapel and Woolwich stations have all been given the green light and issued with authorisations. Bond Street has been given the go-ahead only for safe evacuation procedures, as it will open for passengers later than the rest of the line.

ORR has also authorised the overall routeway for the Elizabeth line’s track and tunnel infrastructure, to allow trains to run through the central section. The new railway will transform how Londoners and visitors cross the capital with Paddington to Canary Wharf, for example, taking just 18 minutes. Transport for London recently confirmed the Elizabeth line will open to the public on Tuesday 24 May.

Regulations set out that no new or upgraded infrastructure or rolling stock can be put into use on or as part of Britain’s rail system unless ORR has provided an interoperability authorisation for the placing in service to ensure it meets appropriate requirements. ORR has been working closely with, and assessing several aspects of, the Crossrail project over the last two years to ensure it meets the necessary technical, safety and accessibility requirements before it can open to passengers.

ORR approved the Elizabeth line Class 345 fleet in 2020 and recently authorised use of the Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R). This delivers digital, secure, and dependable communications between drivers and signallers, helping increase safety, reduce delays and improve performance and providing a better experience for passengers.

The regulator also approved the track access contract between Rail for London (Infrastructure) Ltd, the infrastructure manager for the Crossrail Central Operating Section, and MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Ltd, the Elizabeth line operator. This means that if in the future a train operator wants to access the Elizabeth line network, it needs a track access contract that has been reviewed and approved by ORR.

“Delivery of the Elizabeth line is in its very final complex stages, but we have been working closely with the Crossrail project and Transport for London for some time to ensure smooth progress of authorisations,” Steve Fletcher, Deputy Director of Engineering and Asset Management at the Office of Rail and Road, said. “This co-operation means we have 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 2022.”

“With final preparations underway ahead of opening the Elizabeth line on 24 May 2022, we have been working closely with ORR,” Howard Smith, Director of the Elizabeth line, said. “Getting the final authorisations for our stations, trains and other infrastructure means that we can operate the new railway safely and reliably for all our future customers.”

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