A new plan has been outlined by Crossrail Ltd to finish the remaining work on the delayed Elizabeth line.
Originally set to open in December 2018, the project – one of the largest infrastructure developments in Europe – has been besieged by problems; the opening date was revised last year, with a new date of autumn 2019 given.
However, the new plan reveals a further delay, after a detailed audit produced a “robust and realistic” plan to put the project back on track.
The new plan has required the identification and re-sequencing of more than 100,000 independent tasks, taking into account exactly what needs to be done and the time this will take.
With testing of trains and signalling still necessary, Crossrail Ltd has identified a delivery window of six months, with a midpoint at the end of 2020.
Therefore, the project will open, as it stands, in 2021; the remaining fit-out and systems installations in tunnels and stations will be completed this year, but before real progress is made, four major tasks have to be completed.
These include the building and testing of software to integrate the train operating system with three different signalling systems; installation and testing of vital station systems; installation of equipment in tunnels and test communication systems; and the trial run of trains over many thousand miles on completed railway to ensure any problems are identified and eradicated.
As this work progresses, Crossrail’s team will be able to provide more certainty about when the Elizabeth line will open, which has required more investment, to make up for the shortfall that would have been covered by passenger fares, had the project completed on time.
Mark Wild, Crossrail Ltd Chief Executive, said: “This plan will allow Crossrail Ltd and its contractors to put the project back on track and deliver the Elizabeth line.
“Crossrail is an immensely complex project and there will be challenges ahead, but the Elizabeth line is going to be incredible for London and really be worth the wait.”