The central section of Elizabeth line is now expected to open in the first half of 2022 following an update to the Crossrail Board. The report to the board has suggested that lower than expected productivity on the shafts and portals, delays on the completion and handover of stations and COVID-19 has made the delays more acute.
To help recover some of the lost time, Crossrail is undertaking a period of intensive construction activity during August and September to complete the remaining construction works in the routeway for Trial Running. The construction blockade is progressing well and achieving targeted levels of productivity. Following completion of the blockade in September, Crossrail will commence testing of the next evolution of the signalling software, helping to further build operational reliability. Once software testing completes later this year, Crossrail will then begin an enabling phase for Trial Running with testing in the tunnels undertaken with an increased number of trains. This will provide an opportunity to test how well the railway systems work in operational-like situations and will be undertaken as the extensive safety case to the Office of Rail and Road to commence Trial Running is finalised.