Crossrail say they plan to bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service as soon as practically possible in 2021, and that their focus is on meeting the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19 and keeping the programme moving forward.
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 they completes the remaining programme of works for Trial Running, they 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.
Once Trial Running begins a period of time 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.
Essential and business critical work has been continuing across the programme. In line with the latest government guidance, physical works on sites have now resumed and Dynamic Testing of the train control systems in the tunnels has recommenced.
Crossrail say they are increasing efforts to complete the outstanding construction and assurance activities for Trial Running. This will be supported by a 5-week construction blockade, beginning in August, across the tunnels, shafts and portals to complete critical construction works in the routeway for Trial Running.
Much of the central section infrastructure is now complete and fit-out is nearing completion at many stations. Eight of the 30 big engineering structures have been handed over to Transport for London (TfL): Custom House station; Royal Oak, Victoria Dock, Pudding Mill Lane and North Woolwich Portals; and Fisher Street, Mile End and Limmo Shafts.
The three remaining shafts and portals to be handed over to TfL (Eleanor Street Shaft, Plumstead Portal and Stepney Green Shaft) will be handed over in the coming months.
All central section stations, except Bond Street, have now been certified as ready to support Trial Running.
The full-length Class 345 trains (9 car units) have been operating on services out of Paddington and are approved for Heathrow services but the requirement for a critical software update means they are currently replaced by 7 car units.
Station enhancement work has resumed on both the east and west of the line in accordance with the latest government guidance.