Crossrail does not have a train fully fit for testing yet, chairman Sir Terry Morgan told the London Assembly’s Transport Committee on September 12.
Answering questions from the committee, Morgan explained that while Crossrail provided informal briefings about potential delays to the project’s schedule beforehand, no firm decision had been taken on delaying the opening of the new railway until August 29 (RAIL 861).
Crossrail Chief Executive and Programme Director Simon Wright told the committee that delays to the commissioning of the route occurred because of a voltage transformer failure at Pudding Mill Lane sub-station, which prevented the energisation of the 25kV overhead power supply in October 2017. Mitigation took four months, and testing of trains in the central section began in February this year.
Morgan added that at no point in testing has more than one train at a time run through the tunnels. “We haven’t yet got a homologated train where the manufacturer has given us an assurance that we can put this train into test. That’s what we’re still looking for next month,” he said.
Dynamic testing of trains, power supply and signalling systems is expected to begin on October 22.
Wright explained further about some of the challenges of validating the software on the Class 345s, which will have to cope with three signalling systems: European Train Control System on the western section, Communications-Based Train Control in the central tunnels, and conventional signalling with Train Protection Warning System on the eastern section.
He said that “we are not in a position to give more precision” regarding an opening date, currently anticipated as autumn 2019.
“Having completed infrastructure systems, having started testing, when we have some test results under our belt we’ll be in a position to be more definitive about the number of cycles we’re going to have to go through for software patches, he said.
“Until you get into that, it’s really very difficult indeed, and no one can be definitive about how many times you have to go through this cycle. We’ve made an allowance, we made an estimate and we’ve also allowed some risk against that estimate… but until we have started that dynamic testing process, we’re not going to be in a position to be more definitive about the outcomes.”
- For more on the Crossrail delays, read RAIL 861, on sale now.