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Elizabeth Line Receives Final Approval To Open

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The railway regulator, the Office of Rail and Road, has legally approved the Elizabeth line (nee Crossrail) to open on Tuesday, May 24th. TfL did include a little caveat when announcing the opening date: it was subject to final regulatory permissions, which have now been obtained.

No new or updated infrastructure or rolling stock can be used on or as part of Britain’s rail system unless ORR has issued an ‘interoperability authorization for the placing in service’ to guarantee it fulfills relevant criteria, according to the regulations.

Except for Bond Street, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has now issued permits for all Elizabeth line stations, indicating that the stations and infrastructure meet the requirements for passenger usage.

Abbey Wood, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Tottenham Court Road, Whitechapel, and Woolwich stations have all been given the go-ahead. Bond Street has been approved, but only for emergency evacuation procedures, as it will open for passengers later than the remainder of the line.

The ORR has also approved the Elizabeth line’s track and tunnel infrastructure’s overall routeway, allowing trains to travel through the middle section.

“Delivery of the Elizabeth line is in its very final complex stages,” said Steve Fletcher, Deputy Director of Engineering and Asset Management at the Office of Rail and Road. “But we’ve been working closely with the Crossrail project and Transport for London for some time to ensure the smooth progress of authorizations.” Because of their cooperation, we were able to grant these certifications promptly, ensuring that this state-of-the-art railway can begin service securely and reliably for passengers on May 24.”

The ORR has earlier approved the Elizabeth line’s Class 345 trains for 2020, as well as the usage of the GSM-R radio network for signaling communications.

Finally, finally, finally! In every way, this is an extremely complicated infrastructure project that is desperately required. While testing is essential, and delivery dates for the tunnel, stations, signals, rolling stock, and other components must be altered correspondingly, it is unclear why more accurate estimates of the time required to finish the work and execute the project could not have been provided in 2015-18. Many people must have realized the project was years away from completion as early as 2016. Did managers and others receive bonuses for stating in 2017 that they were on track to achieve in 2018?

Though it is anticipated that the line would not be fully operational with through trains until mid/late 2023, it is excellent that this project’s line will eventually function and hopefully without any issues.

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