Transport for London (TfL) and Crossrail Limited today said the first new Elizabeth Line train has been tested in brand new tunnels through London.
The train was the first to be driven from Abbey Wood, entering the tunnels at Plumstead and heading for Connaught Tunnel before returning to Abbey Wood station last night.
Andrew Wolstenholme, chief executive, Crossrail, said:
The start of infrastructure testing is a major milestone moment. It’s testament to the men and women who have, and continue to, work tirelessly on the project that we are now welcoming the first Elizabeth line train that’s powered by the new overhead lines, into the tunnels.
The Crossrail programme is now over 90 per cent complete and this heralds the start of our works to bring together the new stations, track, power, signalling and trains ahead of the Elizabeth Line opening in December.
The Elizabeth Line, as it will be known when the central tunnels under London open in December, will serve 41 stations and stretch across more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west through tunnels in central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
Costs on construction are currently 25 per cent ahead of budget and London's transport commissioner has said Crossrail is facing "increasing cost and schedule pressures", but the team says it is still forecast to be delivered within the overall funding set for the £14.8bn project.
When complete, the new railway will carry over 200m passengers a year and add 10 per cent to central London's rail capacity.
The Elizabeth Line will serve 41 stations and stretch across more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west through tunnels in central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
Howard Smith, operations director for the Elizabeth Line, said "crucial testing" is now underway to validate the safety and reliability of the line ahead of the launch.
Work continues to complete all the stations on the route - with some facing delays - as well as bringing together the complicated interfaces between track, power, signalling and trains.
London mayor Sadiq Khan said:
When it opens later this year, the Elizabeth Line is going to transform travel across London and the south east, helping to improve the lives of millions of Londoners, stimulating much needed housing development across the capital, and providing a huge boost to our economy.
|Elizabeth Line timeline|
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