Progress on the rollout of the first Elizabeth Line trains has stalled, with Transport for London (TfL) pushing back a target to have 11 trains in passenger service by the autumn.
The intention was to roll out 11 trains on the Liverpool Street to Shenfield route, currently operating as TfL Rail by September, but TfL has told City A.M. that eight trains have now been accepted for passenger service, and just three are in use.
In total, 25 trains have been built, with some to be used on later stages of the £14.8bn project. Two are being used for driver training.
Howard Smith, operations director for TfL Rail, said: "The new trains are being gradually introduced into passenger service on TfL Rail to replace trains over 30 years old. We currently have eight of the new trains in London and hope to have eleven from Bombardier who are manufacturing the new trains in Derby by the end of the year."
TfL wants to ensure the trains are reliable, and had said last month that the rate of introduction is slightly behind programme, predominantly due to “issues with the commissioning of the platform elements of the driver only operation CCTV system”.
The trains are air conditioned, have CCTV, and have walk-through carriages.
By this autumn, the new trains were expected to replace around half of the existing rolling stock, with some of the older trains staying in service until 2019.
How the new trains look:
Despite the train rollout delay, the Elizabeth Line’s key milestones remain on track, with its phased openings set to continue to December 2019. By that time, a fleet of 66 new trains will operate on the completed line.
Progress for the rail project spanning Reading and Heathrow in the west, London, and out to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, has mostly been smooth sailing so far.
There was a slight delay to the first train entering passenger service earlier this year, which was meant to get underway between Liverpool Street and Shenfield by the end of May, but that was pushed back to June to finish up testing.
Construction of the project is 87 per cent complete, with overhead line electrification works and the fitting out of stations still to be wrapped up.
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 2018. Then, the TfL Rail service will open between Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 4.
|Elizabeth Line timeline|
|June 2017: First new train entered passenger service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield|
|May 2018: TfL Rail service starts between Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 4|
|December 2018: Elizabeth Line opens between Paddington and Abbey Wood, Liverpool Street to Shenfield, Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 4|
|May 2019: Direct services operate Paddington to Shenfield and Paddington to Abbey Wood|
|December 2019: Elizabeth Line is fully open|