Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Crossrail Starts Trial Running in Central Section

Crossrail has officially entered trial running on the central section of the London railway line with four trains per hour initially running through the tunnels. Testing will ramp up over the coming weeks with the final Elizabeth line service due to run 24 trains per hour when it opens to the public.

Central Section of Crossrail

Trial running involves the extensive commissioning of the railway and their website says "Crossrail Ltd plans to bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service as soon as practically possibly in the first half of 2022.

Above & below, a Crossrail train which is in service between Reading and Paddington.
It is hoped that trains should be running in the central section and beyond during the first half of 2022

Delivery of the Elizabeth line is now in its complex final stages and is being completed at a time of great uncertainty due to the risks and potential impacts of further Covid outbreaks. Our focus is on meeting the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19.

We expect to commence extensive commissioning of the railway in spring 2021. We are in the phase of Trial Running, which involves multiple trains operating in the central operating section to test the timetable and build reliability, while the final works to the stations are completed. 
It will take a period of time 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 to ensure the readiness of the railway.

Following the opening of the central section, full services across the Elizabeth line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east will be introduced. The introduction of full services will be aligned with the National Rail timetable change.

Trial running will see multiple trains operating in the tunnels to simulate the Elizabeth line timetable.

The initial phase of Trial Running will see a limited number of trains in operation on the central operating section to allow the infrastructure manager, TfL, to undertake a number of activities to achieve full readiness. The number of trains will gradually increase before further activities such as timetable operation, timetable demonstrations and integration testing can be undertaken.

Trial Running is vital to unlocking the pathway to passenger service. It involves multiple trains operating in the central operating section to demonstrate that the railway is capable of reliably meeting the capacity and other requirements, whilst the final works to the stations are completed.

Outstanding works have been scheduled into the programme and will take place during the Trial Running period. These works include a combination of project maintenance, snagging and enhancements and some testing and commissioning activity.

There will also be four train signalling software upgrades during Trial Running and time has been allocated in the Trial Running programme for each to be tested as appropriate and deployed.