Elizabeth line gets final authorisation to open
The Office of Rail and Road, the railway regulator, has formally authorised the Elizabeth line (nee Crossrail) to open on Tuesday 24th May. When TfL announced the opening date, they did add a small caveat that it was subject to final regulatory approvals, which have now been granted.
Regulations set out that no new or upgraded infrastructure or rolling stock can be put into use on or as part of Britain’s rail system unless ORR has provided an ‘interoperability authorisation for the placing in service’ to ensure it meets appropriate requirements.
The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) says that it has now issued approvals for all the Elizabeth line stations – with the exception of Bond Street – confirming the stations and infrastructure meet the requirements for passenger use.
Abbey Wood, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Tottenham Court Road, Whitechapel and Woolwich stations have all been given the green light and issued with authorisations. Bond Street has been given the go-ahead, but only for safe evacuation procedures, as it will open for passengers later than the rest of the line.
The ORR has also authorised the overall routeway for the Elizabeth line’s track and tunnel infrastructure, to allow trains to run through the central section.
Steve Fletcher, Deputy Director of Engineering and Asset Management at the Office of Rail and Road, said: “Delivery of the Elizabeth line is in its very final complex stages, but we’ve been working closely with the Crossrail project and Transport for London for some time to ensure smooth progress of authorisations. This co-operation means we’ve been able to provide these approvals in a timely manner and ensure this state-of-the-art railway can enter into service safely and reliably for passengers, and meet the schedule opening date of 24 May.”
The ORR had previously approved the Elizabeth line Class 345 trains in 2020 and recently authorised the use of the GSM-R radio network for signalling communications.