Al­ready long de­lays on the El­iz­a­beth line

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - IsabeL DobInson

THE long-awaited El­iz­a­beth Line which was due to open in just four months time has been de­layed by al­most a year.

Cross­rail an­nounced that “fur­ther time is re­quired to en­sure a safe and re­li­able rail­way” and that it is now ex­pected to be ready for pas­sen­gers in au­tumn 2019, nine months later than sched­uled.

This is de­spite prom­ises ear­lier this year that the El­iz­a­beth Line will open in De­cem­ber - just in time for Christ­mas.

Ac­cord­ing to Trans­port for Lon­don (TfL) a “re­vised sched­ule is needed to com­plete the fi­nal in­fra­struc­ture” and “ex­ten­sive test­ing is re­quired to en­sure the El­iz­a­beth line opens as a safe and re­li­able rail­way.”

As pre­vi­ously planned, the 10-year project will run from Read­ing and Heathrow in the west through 13 miles of new tun­nels to Shen­field and Abbey Wood in the east.

The new line will op­er­ate as three sep­a­rate ser­vices - from Padding­ton to Abbey Wood, Padding­ton to Heathrow and Liver­pool Street to Shen­field.

A new El­iz­a­beth Line Sta­tion will also be cre­ated at Padding­ton, mean­ing it will only take com­muters 17 min­utes to travel from the new sta­tion to Ca­nary Wharf.

“Cross­rail Lim­ited has been work­ing hard to main­tain the pro­gramme and suf­fi­cient test­ing time is re­quired to in­tro­duce the next phase of the rail­way - the cen­tral sec­tion be­tween Padding­ton and Abbey Wood in a way that can be guar­an­teed to be safe and re­li­able,” a TfL spokesman said.

“The orig­i­nal pro­gramme for test­ing has been com­pressed by more time be­ing needed by con­trac­tors to com­plete fit-out ac­tiv­ity in the cen­tral tun­nels and the de­vel­op­ment of rail­way sys­tems soft­ware.

“Test­ing has started but fur­ther time is re­quired to com­plete the full range of in­te­grated tests.

“The fo­cus re­mains on open­ing the full El­iz­a­beth line, from Read- ing and Heathrow in the west to Shen­field and Abbey Wood in the east, as soon after the cen­tral tun­nels open as pos­si­ble.”

Ac­cord­ing to TfL, the new line will add 10% to cen­tral Lon­don’s rail ca­pac­ity and boost the econ­omy by an es­ti­mated £42 bil­lion.

Si­mon Wright, Cross­rail chief ex­ec­u­tive said: “The El­iz­a­beth line is one of the most com­plex and chal­leng­ing in­fra­struc­ture projects ever un­der­taken in the UK and is now in its fi­nal stages.

“We have made huge progress with the de­liv­ery of this in­cred­i­ble project but we need fur­ther time to com­plete the test­ing of the new rail­way.

“We are work­ing around the clock with our sup­ply chain and Trans­port for Lon­don to com­plete and commission the El­iz­a­beth line.”

Mark Wild, Lon­don Un­der­ground and El­iz­a­beth line man­ag­ing di­rec­tor added: “We will con­tinue to work closely with Cross­rail Lim­ited as they com­plete the re­main­ing rail­way in­fra­struc­ture work and test­ing needed to de­liver the new rail­way.

“The de­layed open­ing is dis­ap­point­ing, but en­sur­ing the El­iz­a­beth line is safe and re­li­able for our cus­tomers from day one is of paramount im­por­tance.”

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