Major railway upgrade works have been completed along the Elizabeth line ahead of its grand opening later this year.
Network Rail has finished connecting all three Elizabeth line tunnels at Plumstead, Westbourne Park and Pudding Mill Lane to the existing rail network.
At Pudding Mill Lane, where Elizabeth line tunnels emerge and meet with the national rail infrastructure, Network Rail has completed track work to allow trains to enter and exit the new tunnels from the existing railway.
As well as a new track, new overhead power lines and signalling equipment have been installed.
Other progress along the line has seen Network Rail engineers finish work to re-model the sidings at Gidea Park including the upgrade of overhead lines, signals and track to accommodate the new fleet of Elizabeth line trains.
The work involved:
- The renewal of more than 3.2km of track, 8,000 tonnes of new ballast and 45,000 concrete sleepers with four new longer sidings replacing five life-expired sidings;
- The installation of new overhead line equipment and signals using 37 steel piles; and
- Building driver walkways and installing lighting and track drainage.
Countdown to the Elizabeth Line
2001 Crossrail Ltd. formed
Crossrail Ltd. was formed in 2001, sponsored by TfL and the Department for Transport.
2008 - The Crossrail Act passed
The Crossrail Act was passed giving it permission to 'build, operate and maintain' the new railway across London.
2009 - Ground breaking ceremony
A ground breaking ceremony took place at Canary Wharf.
2012 - Work starts on the line
Tunnelling began in May, with tunnel boring machine Elizabeth readied by October to start the longest tunnel drive from Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon.
May 2015 - TfL Rail services open between Liverpool Street and Shenfield
Stations between Liverpool Street and Shenfield are staffed from the first to the last train.
Fares were fully integrated into the TfL system and the 'turn up and go' service was introduced for those needing assistance.
February 2016 - The Queen unveils new roundel
Her Majesty the Queen unveiled the new Elizabeth line roundel designed in purple.
March 2016 - £30m spent over Easter weekend
Hayes and Harlington, West Ealing and Southall stations have received a platform extension and major trackwork at a number of locations including Old Oak Common and Stockley was carried out, to 'increase capacity and improve the reliability of the railway'.
January 2017 - House prices to soar due to line
June 2017 - New trains enter service
New trains which will be used on the Elizabeth Line were put into use on TfL Rail between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
July 2017 - See inside Crossrail
The pictures show the tunnels and track purpose built for the Elizabeth Line trains.
August 2017 - Everything you need to know
The new railway for London is on track to open at the end of next year.
It all began in 2012 and after years of tunnelling, track work, construction and building of new stations the wait is almost over.
December 2017- New Tube map unveiled
TfL unveils a new Tube map featuring the Elizabeth Line route
May 2018 - TfL Rail service to open between Paddington and Heathrow
The service will replace the existing Heathrow Connect service and part of the Great Western inner suburban service.
The Heathrow Express service will run as normal.
December 2018 - Elizabeth line opens
The Elizabeth Line will officially open operating three services:
- Paddington to Abbey Wood
- Paddington to Heathrow
- Liverpool Street to Shenfield
May 2019 - Further services in operation
Direct services from Paddington to Shenfield and Paddington to Abbey Wood will begin operating.
December 2019 - Elizabeth Line fully open
The Elizabeth Line will be fully open, with services running from Reading and Heathrow through central London and all the way to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in east London.
The Elizabeth line will connect Reading and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
It will officially launch from central London to Abbey Wood from December 2018, with the west London section of the line running from Heathrow Airport to Paddington expected to open from May 2018.
Once opened it will boost capacity on London's transport network with a brand new fleet of 200 metre long trains, featuring nine walk through carriages.
Last month, Transport for London released images of what the new Elizabeth line stations and platforms will look like.
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.”
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