London Crossrail has reached a milestone with the official completion of permanent track for the Elizabeth line. Work will now continue with commissioning trains and fitting out stations to enabling a phased opening to begin in Spring 2018.
The final rail clips were fixed to the track by Ellen McGuinness, Track Quality Control Engineer, to commemorate the milestone. The occasion was attended by Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling and Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross, who joined Crossrail Chairman Sir Terry Morgan and Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme 35 metres below ground, in the eastbound tunnel of the new Whitechapel Elizabeth line station. Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, described it as “the biggest rail modernisation programme for over a century, creating jobs and business opportunities right around the country.
This £14.8 billion project now enters a new phase, with construction trains able to travel the full length of both new tunnels from end to end. A construction train completed the journey from Plumstead in east London to Royal Oak Portal in the west for the first time, passing through 9 new central station platforms, with light at both ends of the tunnel. Services are due to start running between Paddington and Abbey Wood in December 2018.
63,000 sleepers, 51,419 metres of rail and over 800 sections of Long Welded Rail (LWR) have been installed by over a thousand highly skilled men and women, making up the new 50+ kilometres of Elizabeth line track. Over 13,500 m3 of concrete – enough to fill several Olympic sized swimming pools, was poured by the concreting train as part of the track installation.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said: “The completion of the Elizabeth line track is a huge milestone on the way to finishing a project that will transform transport across London and the South East. Alongside progressing plans for Crossrail 2, the completion of the Elizabeth line will be vital for helping us deal with London’s growing population, it will boost jobs across the UK, and improve the quality of life for millions of people living and working in the region.”
Sir Terry Morgan, Crossrail Chairman said: “We’re delighted to be officially marking this important milestone as it also signifies a great achievement for all the dedicated men and women who are working on the project.” With just over a year to go until the Elizabeth line opens, the Crossrail project is now focused on the installation of platform screen doors, signalling, tunnel ventilation and communications systems along with the overhead lines that will power the new trains.
(Pictures courtesy of Crossrail: http://www.crossrail.co.uk/news/articles/elizabeth-line-permanent-track-installation-is-complete#