The Elizabeth Line is due to launch its final full timetable this weekend (May 21).
At TfL’s Elizabeth Line committee meeting which was held yesterday (May 18), Howard Smith, TfL’s Elizabeth Line director confirmed that the full timetable would be utilised this weekend after several false starts and software upgrade failures.
The Elizabeth Line officially opened in 2022, but has been gradually getting to full capacity since then whilst the Crossrail project team continued on the final programme of works on the line.
However, at the committee, it was confirmed that the project was close to being handed over to TfL fully from Crossrail.
At the committee meeting yesterday, Smith said: “We’re close to finishing the Crossrail project with most people and final projects moving into the operational sphere of TfL soon – In fact next week, which is a very significant activity.”
However, whilst the progress on the Elizabeth Line has been good in places, the committee did acknowledge that they still had significant challenges ahead of them.
Mr Smith told the committee: “We’re not quite where we feel as comfortable as we should do at this stage.”
Issues with the Nuneham viaduct in Oxfordshire, which was closed in April over fears it could collapse, meant that freight trains would be diverted onto the Elizabeth Line, which caused significant delays.
Alongside that, the committee also learned that the signalling software upgrade that happened in April, had caused issues.
Mr Smith told the committee: “The signalling upgrade we brought in, ELR 400 actually brought in bugs and regressions, so when we reopened after Easter, instead of being smooth, we were managing a series of issues where trains would emergency break, stop unexpectedly.”
The Class 345 trains used on the line are software heavy and the new software upgrade also caused issues with the customer information system.
It is expected however that those issues will be ironed out before the full timetable gets underway this weekend.