Crossrail has announced that the £14.8 billion programme to deliver a new cross-London railway is now 70% complete and is being delivered both on time and on budget.
The installation of track in the 42km (26 miles) of tunnels beneath the capital is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016, and the major fit-out of stations will continue ahead of the first services running in December 2018.
Crossrail reports that platform construction is now more than 50% complete at the ten brand new stations on the route, while Network Rail will continue its programme to upgrade the three-quarters of the Crossrail route that runs on existing railway above ground. It is redeveloping several key stations including Ealing Broadway, while in 2016 Transport for London will begin station improvements at Ilford, Manor Park and Seven Sisters.
Another key milestone this year will be Crossrail’s first test train. Being built by Bombardier in Derby, it is due to roll off the production line later this year to begin testing, before entering service in May 2017.
Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme said: “Following the completion of tunnelling last year, Crossrail’s focus is now on the complex task of fitting out the new tunnels and stations with the necessary infrastructure and railway systems to enable TfL-run services to commence through central London in 2018. This includes the installation of the permanent track, high-voltage power, tunnel ventilation, signalling and overhead line equipment.”
Rail Minister Claire Perry added: “This year the cutting-edge Crossrail train designs will become a UK-built reality, the final tracks will be laid in brand new tunnels, and more stations will be fitted out with world-class facilities. Their construction is helping unlock new investment, encourage regeneration and grow local economies.”