Milestones on the Crossrail project have been reached after it was announced railway upgrades have been completed on the Elizabeth line route.
Network Rail has undertaken the work at Pudding Mill Lane, Plumstead and Westbourne Park, while Gidea Park sidings have been improved so that full length Elizabeth line trains can be accommodated.
In another of a series of milestones on Crossrail, signalling between Pudding Mill Lane to Shenfield has been updated in order to support Elizabeth line services.
These upgrades are key in guaranteeing the railway infrastructure is in place by December 2018 when the first Elizabeth line services will run in London.
Ben Wheeldon, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail, said: “Making the final connection between the national rail network and the Crossrail tunnels links east and west for the first time.
“The completion of these huge pieces of work, including the final signalling commissioning on the eastern section of the Elizabeth line route is a significant step towards ensuring that the railway infrastructure is ready for the introduction of the Elizabeth line and is an important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.”
As part of the milestones reached, Network Rail has completed track work at Pudding Mill Lane where Elizabeth line tunnels meet with national rail infrastructure. This means trains will be able to enter and exit new tunnels from the existing above ground railway.
Elsewhere, overhead power lines and signalling equipment were required for this, as well as the new track. Now this has been completed, Plumstead, Pudding Mill Lane and Westbourne Park are connected to the existing railway.
As part of the remodelling of sidings at Gidea Park, engineers have upgraded overhead lines, signals and track. As a result, more than 3.2km of track has been renewed, along with 8,000 tonnes of new ballast and 45,000 concrete sleepers with four new longer sidings replacing five sidings that have reached the end of their life cycle.
It is further progress on the huge infrastructure project, which is already 90% complete.