Crossrail engineers hit key track, signalling and infrastructure milestones

A series of milestones have been reached as railway upgrades have been completed along the Crossrail route.

Network Rail has completed track work at Pudding Mill Lane, where the Elizabeth line tunnels emerge and meet with the national rail infrastructure, to allow trains to enter and exit the new tunnels from the existing above ground railway.

New overhead power lines and signalling equipment were also required, and the work has connected all the Elizabeth line portals - Plumstead, Westbourne Park and Pudding Mill Lane - to the existing railway.

Over the past 10 weeks work has also been completed on re-modelling the sidings at Gidea Park.

New overhead line equipment and signals have been installed, using 37 steel piles.

Over 3.2km of track have been renewed, with 8,000 tonnes of new ballast and 45,000 concrete sleepers with four new longer sidings, to enable the sidings to accommodate the 200 meter long Elizabeth line trains that will be stabled there.

Driver walkways have been built, and lighting and track drainage installed.

Further upgrade works will continue on the Great Eastern Main Line until April, replacing the overhead wires to improve reliability and continuing to install the systems which will power overhead line equipment.

Ben Wheeldon, Crossrail programme director at Network Rail, said: “Making the final connection between the national rail network and the Crossrail tunnels links east and west for the first time. 

“The completion of these huge pieces of work, including the final signalling commissioning on the eastern section of the Elizabeth Line route is a significant step towards ensuring that the railway infrastructure is ready for the introduction of the Elizabeth Line and is an important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.”

While the works continue there will be track closures every weekend until Monday 2 April, including Easter weekend, between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, affecting TfL Rail and Greater Anglia services, and London Overground services between Romford and Upminster.

The Elizabeth Line is set to open in December 2018.

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