Crossrail has ramped up its trial running programme to eight trains per hour.
Trial running on the central section of the London railway line officially began at the start of May, with four trains per hour running through the tunnels.
Testing is now gathering momentum with the Elizabeth line service due to run 12 trains per hour in each direction when it opens to the public. This will then increase to 24 trains per hour after the central section is opened.
Trial running involves the extensive commissioning of the railway and is seen as a major milestone for getting the line opened during the first half of 2022.
It will, however, be paused during an 18-day blockade scheduled for the end of the month. A Crossrail spokesperson confirmed that this pause had always been factored into the programme.
The blockade will focus on completing outstanding construction work at Bond Street and Canary Wharf stations, along with work to the routeway.
Work at the stations was pushed back to allow Crossrail to enter trial running, but in April, Crossrail project representative Jacobs raised concerns in a project report (Prep 11) about the growing list of work being deferred in order to get trial running underway.
Jacobs revealed that approximately 4,500 items of work had been pushed back on Crossrail’s stations programme until after trial running began.
In the latest publicly available report (Prep 12), Jacobs warned that outstanding work at Bond Street, Whitechapel, Paddington and Canary Wharf threatens to delay Crossrail’s programme to get the Elizabeth Line open during the first half of 2022.
Jacobs warned that “effective mitigations” will be required at the four stations to avoid a delay to entering trial operations, which involve tests and trials to demonstrate that TfL is capable of operating the railway.
Trial operations cannot begin until all nine central London stations are handed over to Transport for London. So far, Farringdon, Custom House and Tottenham Court Road have been handed over.
At an Elizabeth Line committee meeting last month, Crossrail Ltd chief executive Mark Wild said that in the next “two or three months” the aim is for Liverpool Street, Woolwich and Paddington stations to be brought into use – a “realistic prospect”, he said.
Wild said that engineers are working on “a discrete and bespoke assurance regime” for Canary Wharf, adding that he expects the station to be “open and ready” in September or October.
The June blockade will be the third for the Crossrail project.
The first “very successful” six week blockade was implemented last summer to allow critical works to be completed and make up for time lost due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Department of Civil EngineeringDepartment of Civil Engineering – International Burch University (ibu.edu.ba)