Crossrail: Elizabeth line moves into 'dress rehearsal stage' ahead of 2022 opening

22 November 2021, 11:18 | Updated: 22 November 2021, 11:46

The line will start running in 2022.
The line will start running in 2022. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Elizabeth line has entered into a 'dress rehearsal stage' in the lead up to its launch in 2022, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The trial stage is intended to ensure the railway is safe and reliable for the public, while also testing timetables.

It comes as the line will begin running between Paddington and Abbey Wood from the first half of 2022.

Transport bodies and emergency services are set to carry out 150 scenarios in the meantime, including exercises to ensure that staff can respond to incidents such as customers being unwell and signal failures.

There will also be larger tests, including the evacuation of trains and stations using thousands of staff and volunteers.

Closer to the crossrail launch, a period of "shadow running" - which involves the line operating without passengers - will take place.

Read more: Ex-TfL chief operating officer backs Crossrail as MPs warn of £150m funding gap

Read more: Multi-million bonuses for TfL bosses after operator receives several Govt bailouts

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the trial phase marked a "significant milestone" in the delivery of the Elizabeth line, which will boost the capital's economy.

Mr Khan added: "The next few months are crucial to making sure the railway can open safely next year, and everyone is working incredibly hard to reach that goal.

"The Elizabeth line will help transform travel in London and the South East, dramatically improving transport links, supporting regeneration and boosting our economic recovery."

The project was taken over by TfL in 2020, when it entered its final stages of construction and systems integration.

Crossrail chief executive, Mark Wild, said the line is on track to open in the first half of 2022, though an exact date has not yet been given.

"This is an immensely complex railway and we must be able to demonstrate the highest levels of reliability," he said.

"Everyone is working hard to deliver the Elizabeth line as soon as practically possible and we remain on track to commence passenger services in the first half of 2022."