December on the Crossrail calendar is marked for the start of Systems Integration Dynamic Testing (SIDT). This will allow testing in the tunnels to be undertaken with an increased number of trains to test how well the railway systems cope in operational situations.
SIDT is an enabling phase to support the much more significant trial running, the intensive operational testing of trains which will determine exactly when the Elizabeth Line will open. Despite all the work completed to date, the timescales remain hazy. Crossrail Chief Executive Mark Wild says trial running will start ‘at the earliest opportunity in 2021’. Once trial running starts ‘it will then take a period of time to fully test the Elizabeth Line before it can open for passenger service’.
So before opening dates can be calculated with any confidence, trial running needs to start. Before that, Systems Integration Dynamic Testing has to be completed. But before SIDT can go ahead glitches that have emerged during dynamic testing of signalling and train control software need to be resolved. In an update to the London Assembly Mr Wild reported: ‘Dynamic testing continues in a 24/7 mode with a good execution but with test case passes below the level we would expect.’