The Elizabeth line, connecting East London to West is now complete – allowing for construction trains to travel from one end to the other.
VIPs, including Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling, helped set the final rail clips in place at the new Whitechapel station on Thursday (September 14).
With the track fully laid, the £14.8billion project has entered a new phase as construction trains are now able to travel the full length of both new tunnels from end to end. A construction train completed the journey for the first time earlier this summer – entering at Plumstead in east London, passing through nine new central station platforms and exiting at Royal Oak Portal in the west, with light at both ends of the tunnel.
With just over a year to go until the Elizabeth line opens, the Crossrail project is now focused on the installation of platform screen doors, signalling, tunnel ventilation and communications systems along with the overhead lines that will power the new trains.
The Elizabeth line statistics
More than 1,000 people have installed the 63,000 sleepers, 51,419 metres of rail and over 800 sections of Long Welded Rail (LWR) which make up the new 50+ kilometres of Elizabeth line track. Over 13,500 m3 of concrete – enough to fill several Olympic sized swimming pools, was poured by the concreting train as part of the track installation.
What they said
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said: “With brand new trains and step-free stations, the Elizabeth line will provide a truly world-class service for passengers, and this important landmark is testament to the hard work and expertise of all the men and women who have been working on the project. The completion of the Elizabeth line will be vital for helping us deal with London’s growing population, it will boost jobs across the UK, and improve the quality of life for millions of people.”
Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “The Elizabeth line will transform rail transport in London with better and faster journeys for passengers and the official completion of the track is a hugely significant milestone towards delivering this scheme on time and within available funding. But this isn’t just a success story for London. Crossrail has created jobs and driven economic growth across the UK.”
Sir Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman said: “The completion of the permanent track brings us another crucial step closer to the Elizabeth line opening in December 2018. We’re delighted to be officially marking this important milestone as it also signifies a great achievement for all the dedicated men and women who are working on the project.”
Howard Smith, Transport for London’s Elizabeth line Operations Director, said: “It’s a huge moment in the project, turning it from a construction project into a railway, with around 15 months until our customers ride the first trains beneath the streets of London. Crossrail will continue working hard to fit-out the line and stations ahead of TfL preparing to run and maintain the Elizabeth line from next year.”