The first of 66 electric multiple-units for the Elizabeth Line was unveiled by Transport for London at Bombardier’s Derby factory on July 29.
Following dynamic testing at the Derby plant, the first train is to
undergo trials at the Old Dalby test centre during August. This will
include carrying more than 100 tonnes of weight to simulate passengers. A
car is also to be sent to a climatic chamber. Once trials are
completed, the test equipment will be removed from the first trains and
the interiors will be fitted out with seats before delivery for
The Class 345 EMUs are part of Bombardier’s Aventra family, and
according to TfL production in Derby is helping to support 760 jobs and
80 apprenticeships. Barber & Osgerby is acting as design adviser.
The Class 345 is scheduled to enter service on TfL Rail services
between London Liverpool Street and Shenfield in May 2017. The first
trainsets will initially comprise seven cars and be 160 m long to fit
the existing platforms at Liverpool Street. Nine-car sets 200 m long
with a capacity of 1 500 passengers are expected to be introduced from
May 2018, initially running between Heathrow Airport and Paddington.
The full route linking Reading and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield
and Abbey Wood in the east via new tunnels under central London is
scheduled to open in 2019, and will be called the Elizabeth Line.
While TfL has contracted the operation of the Elizabeth Line to MTR
Corp under a concession model, London Underground Managing Director Mark
Wild confirmed that the route would be managed as part of LU. He said
this reflected the cross-city line's role in relieving congestion on
several LU lines, particularly the Central and Jubilee. 'The Elizabeth
Line is intrinsic to integrating London. It will complement the ongoing
four lines modernisation programme and deliver step-free access to the
city centre stations', he said.
TfL has had a strong influence over the final design of the vehicles,
with Head of Design Jon Hunter suggesting TfL had adapted '95% of the
Aventra concept offered to us'.
A particular focus has been on developing 'an interior people want to
travel in'. Hunter said that darker flooring and side panelling had
been selected to avoid the 'sense that you're travelling in a fridge'.
'We can't claim to be business class but we are aiming for premium
economy in airline parlance', he added.
Crossrail Operations Director Howard Smith confirmed that Oyster smart
card and contactless ticketing technology would be extended to cover the
whole Elizabeth Line, including Reading. He also expected that this
would include Heathrow Airport, where Crossrail services will replace
the existing Heathrow Connect operation. Smith also said that TfL was
investigating if more Crossrail trains could run west of Paddington,
where 14 of 24 trains per hour from the east are currently planned to