Countdown to Crossrail: first Elizabeth line train driven through tunnels

Images released by Transport for London (TfL) and Crossrail have shown the first new Elizabeth Line train being tested and driven through Elizabeth Line tunnels.

The train was the first to be driven from Abbey Wood, entering the tunnels at Plumstead and heading for Connaught Tunnel before returning to Abbey Wood station on Sunday night. The latest development has been described a “major milestone moment” and is a welcome image for those responsible in ensuring Crossrail opens as planned later this year.

The testing is the first of hundreds that will take place between now and December on the line which will serve 41 stations and stretch across more than 60 miles from Reading and Heathrow in the west through tunnels in central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Andrew Wolstenholme, chief executive of Crossrail, said: “The start of infrastructure testing is a major milestone moment. It’s testament to the men and women who have, and continue to, work tirelessly on the project that we are now welcoming the first Elizabeth line train that’s powered by the new overhead lines, into the tunnels. The Crossrail programme is now over 90% complete and this heralds the start of our works to bring together the new stations, track, power, signalling and trains ahead of the Elizabeth line opening in December.”

Notable dates in the Crossrail journey:

  • May 2018: TfL Rail service starts between Paddington and Heathrow Terminal 4
  • December 2018: Elizabeth Line opens between Paddington and Abbey Wood, Liverpool Street to Shenfield, Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 4
  • May 2019: Direct services operate Paddington to Shenfield and Paddington to Abbey Wood
  • December 2019: Elizabeth Line is fully open

Commenting on the testing, Howard Smith, operations director for the Elizabeth line, said: “This is a huge milestone for the project, nine years after construction first began. I’m thrilled to see the first train make its maiden voyage from Abbey Wood through the brand new tunnels. Crucial testing is now underway to validate the safety and reliability of the Elizabeth line ahead of the launch. We look forward to welcoming customers onto our new railway this December, when their experience of travelling across London will be transformed for the better.”

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