Crossrail: Nearly 2,000 people involved in Elizabeth Line train trials as opening nears Business News

Crossrail, the £18.8billion project to build a fast east-west link through London, is carrying out trials involving hundreds of volunteers in train evacuations.

The latest exercise took place between Woolwich and Canary Wharf on Sunday, involving Transport for London (TfL) and Network Rail workers, their families and some media – including BBC London transport correspondent Tom Edwards.

He reports: “Above the Tannoy, the driver soon announces that we are ‘broken down’.

“Despite this, everyone is in a good mood. After much back and forth from a British Transport Police officer and the driver, a relief train was brought in and we were all taken to this train, which took us to Canary Wharf.

A Crossrail spokesperson said: “Over 150 test operation scenarios are underway to ensure the railway is ready for passenger service.

“This includes drills to ensure that all systems and procedures are working effectively and that staff can respond to any incident, including sick customers, signal failures and train evacuations.”

Volunteers include people with disabilities and reduced mobility. Wheelchair users, people with hidden disabilities and guide dog users are invited to give feedback after the trials.

Nearly 2,000 people took part in Sunday’s trial, including railway presenter Tim Dunn.

he tweeted“Britain may have waited a long time for this, but WOW, this is urban transport done right. It will have been worth the wait.

Almost immediately, criticism of Crossrail began to come in, leading Mr Dunn to tweet in response“Can I ask you for a service this Sunday afternoon? Please stop using replies to my tweets to get rid of your anger about government investments.

“I’m not making the decisions yet, I’m getting all your fury…and frankly, it’s awful. Please let some of us have a great day.

Crossrail was designed to link Reading and Heathrow Airport in the west of the capital with Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in south-east London.

Trains were due to start crossing central London between Paddington in the west and Whitechapel in the east in 2018.

With just a few months left before the launch, the project team admitted that it was way behind schedule.

Since then, costs have soared to £4bn above the original budget of £14.8bn, an increase of 27%. Testing the system currently costs around £2m a day.

The delay – and the resulting lack of revenue – added to the damage to TfL’s finances. The organization won’t say when the line will open, except to promise it will be sometime in the first half of 2020.

Initially, the only service through London will be between Abbey Wood in the south-east of the capital and Paddington station in the west of the city centre.

Travelers wishing to travel from Reading Airport or Heathrow to Shenfield will need to change trains twice: at Paddington and at Liverpool Street.

The western half of the project will link up with Abbey Wood in ‘autumn 2022’ with the final timetable – involving trains every five minutes in both directions – by May 2023.

When completed, the railway will include 26 miles of new tunnels and a total of 41 stations.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-14 15:22:56

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