Crossrail and Transport for London (TfL) have hailed a major milestone for Europe’s largest infrastructure project as the first new Elizabeth line train was tested from the brand new tunnels in South-east London last night.
The new train – built by Bombardier engineers in Derby – was the first to be driven from Abbey Wood. It entered the new tunnels at Plumstead Portal and travelled under the Thames heading for Connaught Tunnel before returning to Abbey Wood station.
Crossrail says the Elizabeth line is set to transform transport in London with quicker, easier and more accessible journeys when it launches in December. The first train to be driven in the tunnels comes as construction reaches its final stages.
Rigorous testing of the railway and signalling infrastructure will now begin to ensure services are safe and reliable for the opening in 10 months’ time. This is the first of hundreds of test runs that will take place throughout the year.
Earlier this month, Crossrail said it successfully activated the 25kV overhead lines in a section of the tunnels beneath the streets of London, describing it as a landmark moment that ensured this first journey could take place. One train will initially be used for testing in the tunnels before more are gradually introduced. A significant amount of work continues to complete all stations on the route as well as bringing together the complicated interfaces between track, power, signalling and trains.
The Elizabeth line is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT) and TfL. When complete, London’s new railway will carry over 200 million passengers per year and will add 10 per cent to central London’s rail capacity.
The introduction of the Elizabeth line supports the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy, which aims to create a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city by improving public transport and reducing reliance on car journeys.