Elizabeth line services through central London won’t be open until 2019
The Elizabeth line will bring an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London and more than 200 million passengers are expected to use it every year.
Elizabeth line test train at Paddington station
The Elizabeth line, which will provide London with quicker, easier and more accessible journeys, will open through central London in autumn 2019, Crossrail Limited has announced. This is nine months after its scheduled launch.
The revised schedule is needed to complete the final infrastructure and extensive testing – to ensure the Elizabeth line opens as a safe and reliable railway.
The 10-year project brings together multiple infrastructure contracts, new trains and three different signalling systems. The Elizabeth line will add 10 per cent to central London’s rail capacity and boost the economy by an estimated £42 billion.
Crossrail Limited has been working to maintain the programme and sufficient testing time is required to introduce the next phase of the railway – the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood – in a way that can be guaranteed to be safe.
The original programme for testing has been compressed by more time needed by contractors to complete fit-out activity in the central tunnels and develop railway systems software.
The focus remains on opening the full Elizabeth line, from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, as soon after the central tunnels open as possible.
Simon Wright, Crossrail Chief Executive, said: “The Elizabeth line is one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK and is now in its final stages. We have made huge progress with the delivery of this incredible project but we need further time to complete the testing of the new railway. We are working around the clock with our supply chain and Transport for London to complete and commission the Elizabeth line.”
The new Elizabeth line trains are already operating between Shenfield and Liverpool Street and between Paddington and Hayes & Harlington, in readiness for the full opening. The trains are also being tested in the Heathrow tunnels.
When the central section of the Elizabeth line opens in autumn 2019, the railway will initially operate as three separate services; Paddington to Abbey Wood via central London, Paddington to Heathrow (Terminals 2, 3 and 4) and Liverpool Street to Shenfield.