Crossrail has announced that it plans to bring the Elizabeth Line into passenger service as soon as practically possible in 2021. Their focus is on meeting the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19 and keeping the programme moving forward to achieve this aim. 

Crossrail is working to ensure that the programme is ready to commence intensive operational testing, known as, Trial Running, at the earliest opportunity and deliver the opening of the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood. Once Crossrail completes the remaining programme of works for Trial Running, Crossrail will seek regulatory approval from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to commence intensive testing. This will see multiple trains operating in the tunnels to simulate the Elizabeth line timetable.

To commence Trial Running, Crossrail needs to complete the remaining key steps:

  1. All central section stations certified as ready to support Trial Running
  2. Complete handover of the shafts and portals to Transport for London (TfL)
  3. Complete Dynamic Testing of the signalling and train systems
  4. Handover the completed Routeway to TfL
  5. Complete the safety and assurance process for the Elizabeth line and obtain regulatory approval from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to commence Trial Running.

Once Trial Running begins a period will be required to fully test the Elizabeth line before it can open for passenger service. This includes a final phase known as Trial Operations involving people being invited onto trains and stations to test real-time service scenarios.

Diagram: Source Crossrail

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