Published: 3rd August 2016
Rail.co.uk has reported from time to time on the massive £16 billion Crossrail project which has caused lots of unavoidable disruption to London’s traffic and business. Payback time is now under a year away when the new trains will enter service and the first one has just ben unveiled at the Bombardier works in Derby.
The train was unveiled by Transport for London (TfL) the first in a 66 strong fleet which will run on Elizabeth line, to be operated on behalf of TfL between Reading and Heathrow in the west, through London’s west end to Shenfield and Abbey Wood serving 40 accessible stations.
The new trains are designated ‘Class 345’ and will enter public service in May 2017 on TfL Rail between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, initially with seven carriages so as they will fit existing platforms at Liverpool Street. The nine carriage trains which can carry up to 1,500 people will enter service a year later between Heathrow and Paddington. As with other TfL trains, passengers can walk between the carriages which are air conditioned and have CCTV for passenger security and real-time travel information.
These trains have been built using lightweight materials and will pump electricity back into the overhead wires when braking and will as a result, use up to 30 per cent less power.
The line will be fully open in 2019 and will carry over half a million passengers per day considerably easing the crowded east-west tube lines as passengers will not need to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street. The line will also help move the ever-growing London population forecast to increase from 8.6 million today to around 10 million by 2030.
Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “These state-of-the-art trains will play a key role in London’s future – helping to deliver a modern, world class transport system through the new Elizabeth line and enabling London’s transport network to cope as our population rises.
“Alongside the new and modernised stations they will serve, the new trains will transform travel across London and will make life better for millions of Londoners.”
Mike Brown MVO, London’s Transport Commissioner went to inspect the new train and said: “The Elizabeth line trains, which are a great showcase of British design and manufacture, will be running on part of our network within a year. The trains are fully accessible, will have air cooling, and once the whole line opens, they will help our passengers move more easily into and across the city every day.”
Transport Minister, Lord Ahmad, said: “The Elizabeth Line and its new trains are a great example of our commitment to improve passenger journeys by investing in one of the most ambitious infrastructure programmes ever undertaken in the UK. This investment will transform the way people travel across London and beyond. And it doesn’t stop here. The Government is spending record amounts on upgrading the rail network, providing a huge boost to capacity to keep Britain moving, support economic growth and bring our country closer together.”
The new trains supported 760 UK jobs and 80 apprenticeships. Peter Doolin, Bombardier Transportation’s Vice President Projects, Crossrail & London Underground, said: “Bombardier is delighted to be working with TfL on this flagship project to deliver new the Elizabeth line trains, which are based on our very latest Aventra product family, a new technology leading train for the UK. We look forward to continuing to work together with TfL in manufacturing, testing and introducing these new trains into service in London.”
Bombardier formally opened a new testing facility at Derby which will be used for their new trains. It measures over 10,000 square metres comprising of four train roads taking trains up to 250m in length. Each line has full length overhead lines and vehicle servicing and inspection pits and is fully accessible by rail at both ends, connecting it to the existing test track and production facilities.
There is also a two story office annexe with space for up to 90 employees who work there. The facility provides a fully flexible multifunctional capability, being able to be configured for both initial engineering type-testing on multiple trains and for final acceptance testing and validation.
The first Elizabeth Line train will be subject to the usual rigorous testing regime in Derby and in a few weeks will move to the Old Dalby test centre in Leicestershire which has a ten mile track with a tunnel. Trains on test will carry over a hundred tonnes of weight to simulate the weight of passengers. The tests include taking a carriage into a chamber to test the air conditioning in all temperatures passengers are likely to face.