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Crossrail restarts dynamic testing

Crossrail tunnel ready for dynamic testing

Crossrail has re-started dynamic testing of its systems after a previous round of testing failed last year.

Crossrail said the start of the new dynamic testing phase was an “important step”. During the first week of the main dynamic testing phase, two test trains will operate – one between Pudding Mill Lane and Paddington/Westbourne Park and the other between Abbey Wood and Canary Wharf.

Testing will take place in both the eastbound and westbound tunnels, and will take place predominantly at line speed and under automatic signalling control. After this initial round of testing, multi-train testing will begin.

Once the main dynamic testing phase is complete, Crossrail said the programme will then move into the trial running phase followed by the trial operations phase.

“Over the next six months we will be testing all the railway’s systems to ensure they are safe and reliable and to identify any faults or software bugs in the very complex systems that are needed to operate the railway,” said Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild.

“Everyone involved in the project is fully focused on ensuring the Elizabeth line [Crossrail’s name when it comes into operation] is completed as quickly as possible and brought into service for passengers.”

Up to now, Crossrail has undertaken limited dynamic testing with a single train in short blocks, typically at weekends. It said most of this time has been given over to completion of construction and fit-out activity in the tunnels.

A limited dynamic testing programme began in February 2018, several months later than planned. Crossrail blamed the delay on an explosive failure of a voltage transformer at Pudding Mill Lane in November 2017, preventing energisation of electrical equipment in the tunnels as extensive checks were undertaken.

But in a London Assembly transport committee meeting last week, Wild said that the real reason for the delay was simply that the systems being tested were simply were not complete enough to carry out the work.

“The reason dynamic testing didn’t work a year ago is two simple reasons: the signalling integration hadn’t been completed, and you can’t test something which hasn’t been installed; and the software systems on the train weren’t mature,” he said.

He also said that due to unfinished stations and delays to train contracts, up to three years’ more work may be required to complete the project.

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