Crossrail began operating test trains on the Elizabeth Line today, allowing a crucial part of the project to get back on its feet after months of delays and setbacks.
Main dynamic testing is the process by which trains are operated in the tunnels to test the new signalling systems to ensure the trains are safe and reliable.
Delays to infrastructure and signalling testing has long been cited as factor in delaying the £17.6bn project, which originally was scheduled to open on 9 December last year.
The testing programme will take place over the next six months. In the first week, two test trains will operate – the first between Pudding Mill Lane and Paddington and Westbourne Park and the second between Abbey Wood and Canary Wharf.
Crossrail has been unable to complete full programmes of dynamic testing due to ongoing construction work in the tunnels, meaning testing has only been carried out at limited times at the weekends.
The dynamic testing programme was due to start in November 2017 but an explosion at Pudding Mill Lane pushed the programme back to February 2018, causing delays to the railway which is now unlikely to open before 2020.
Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild said: “The main dynamic testing phase has commenced and is an important step forward for the Crossrail project. Over the next six months we will be testing all the railway’s systems to ensure they are safe and reliable and to identify any faults or software bugs in the very complex systems that are needed to operate the railway. Everyone involved in the project is fully focused on ensuring the Elizabeth Line is completed as quickly as possible and brought into service for passengers.”