The first Elizabeth Line services for London's £14.8bn Crossrail project have been pushed back until next month, for thorough testing of the train to be completed.
The first new train was meant to enter passenger service between Liverpool Street Main Line and Shenfield by the end of this month, but Transport for London (TfL) has now confirmed it will be later; likely in June.
Howard Smith, TfL’s operations director for the Elizabeth Line, said:
The train is undergoing thorough testing, assurance and approvals before it enters passenger service shortly.
Good progress is being made and we anticipate testing being completed within the next few weeks.
We continue to work closely with Bombardier, Network Rail and MTR Crossrail.
About 11 Elizabeth Line trains are set to be rolled out from now until September along that part of the line, once the new train is in action.
The stretch of line between Liverpool Street heading east to Shenfield will be the only part of the line to run, until the next stage opens in May next year. Then, the TfL Rail service will open between Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 4.
The line in its entirety will eventually run between Reading and Heathrow in the west, through London and out to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
Crossrail has otherwise remained on track both in terms of budget and in terms of its timeline so far, and the Elizabeth Line is on course to be fully open by December 2019.
It comes after news that plans for the regional railway Crossrail 2 have been somewhat derailed by the snap General Election, called by Theresa May for 8 June.
The project’s boss Michele Dix said the team wanted a decision by the end of May “at the latest” on the business and funding plan submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) by TfL, so it could push on with the next steps for the project that would serve stations throughout the south east.
However, the DfT will now leave the matter for the next government to consider and then decide upon.
If given the go-ahead, the Crossrail 2 team will prepare for a hybrid bill, with the original plan to submit that to parliament by the autumn of 2019.
The timeline plans for Royal Assent by 2021/2022 and would then start building ready to open for 2033, "just in time for HS2 Phase 2 to arrive at Euston", according to Dix. She wants Crossrail 2 to tie in with HS2 so the full benefits of both can be realised.