Elizabeth line consists of new tunnels from west (Reading and Heathrow) to east (Abbey Wood in the south east and Shenfield in the east) London. Over half a million people are expected to use the 41 stations of the $20 billion project increasing rail capacity in London by 10%.
According to Crossrail Limited, the company that has been set up to build the new railway, the 73 mile train project- which consists one of Europe’s biggest construction undertakings- needs more time to complete final infrastructure and extensive testing in order to comply with the safety and operative regulations. Some issues that delayed the project included an exploding power supply at Pudding Lane and miscellaneous problems at Bond Street and Whitechapel stations.
Crossrail Limited’s chief executive, Simon Wright, stated: “The Elizabeth line is one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK and is now in its final stages. We have made huge progress with the delivery of this incredible project but we need further time to complete the testing of the new railway. We are working around the clock with our supply chain and Transport for London to complete and commission the Elizabeth line.” According to the U.K.'s Department of Transport, the delay comes as a disappointment but the safety of passengers and the reliability of services is the priority. Therefore they accept that more time is needed to test the railway before passenger operations begin.
When the crossrail is ready, it will initially operate as three separate services:
- Paddington (Elizabeth line station) to Abbey Wood via central London
- Paddington (mainline station) to Heathrow (Terminals 2, 3 and 4)
- Liverpool Street (mainline station) to Shenfield
According to the Department of Transport, Elizabeth line will contribute about $54.5 billion to the UK’s economy.
Additionally, another project, Crossrail 2, which will run from Tottenham Hale to Wimbledon (North-South), is expected to open in the 2030s.