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Westham67 2:02 Mon Oct 8
Crossrail Bond Street platform tunnels 3 Crossrail: What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
C+P From Construction news taken from Linkedin

Just the relevant parts.Track did their job signalling and power fucked it up again balders

Testing troubles begin
n autumn 2017, Crossrail was hit with a major crisis that led to questions around whether it could complete its construction works on time.

As chief executive Simon Wright admitted at the London Assembly meeting last month: “[In the autumn] we had increasing pressure on delivering infrastructure but still within the bounds of normal contract procurement; we were managing risks, we were looking at options to mitigate.”

However, on 11 November this pressure ratcheted up significantly.

To ensure the testing of trains could begin on the central section of the railway, Crossrail needed to energise the overhead lines. As these lines were powered up, two transformers failed at the Pudding Mill Lane substation near Stratford, causing a major explosion. “That device failed quite dramatically, and we had to stop,” Mr Wright explained to the London Assembly.

A subsequent investigation discovered design flaws, and it would take until February for the problem to be fixed.

Crucially, the failure meant traction power could not be run on the overhead lines and the start of dynamic testing had to be paused, putting the project’s testing nearly four months behind schedule. And at the same time as the programme for testing was slipping, the separate fit-out work in the central tunnels was progressing more slowly than expected.

Mr Wright said in a written statement to CN: “The original programme for testing has been compressed by a delayed start and more time being needed by contractors to complete fit-out activity in the central tunnels, and the development of railway systems software.”

CN understands there is still work to do to complete infrastructure on the central tunnels, including the removal of temporary services and installation of permanent lighting and drainage pumps.

In his statement, Mr Wright said: “The construction works are coming to a conclusion but we need more time to test and successfully integrate the numerous complex systems to ensure a safe and reliable railway.”

A massive test

The explosion at Pudding Mill Lane had already set the start of testing back by four months. When the testing did eventually begin, the complexities of the
task became apparent.

The programme involves hundreds of tests, which are being carried out across three different signalling systems. The reason for the variation in signalling is that Crossrail interacts with different existing rail infrastructure at either end of the line.

The central section of the line between Paddington and Abbey Wood uses a Communications-based Train Control system (CBTC); the Great Western and Great Eastern Main Line (on which Crossrail trains will run) uses the Train Protection Warning System (TPWS); and the Heathrow tunnels use a European Train Control

“When you go under the bonnet of these signalling systems they are significantly more complicated than they were five years ago, never mind 10 years ago when we did the original planning,” one project insider says.

Mr Wright told the London Assembly that by spring 2018, Crossrail was having limited success on its testing programme.

Fast-forward to today, and the majority of its testing and commissioning should have been completed. However, CN has been told it is well behind that target. “It is hard to put a figure on how much is completed, but I would say indicatively half of it is done,” the insider says.

When Bombardier’s trains eventually start transporting passengers, they will have to transition across all three signalling systems. Integrating the trains to these systems and ensuring the software works across all three has caused problems. The work involves writing, testing and then upgrading software across the three systems and on the trains, which has been far more complicated than first expected.

“You have these different organisations with different bits of kit that need to be brought together,” the source says. “They are all doing many hundreds of tests that need to be done, and it is only over a period of time that you realise that the outcome isn’t going to be right.”

In his statement to CN, Mr Wright said: “The Elizabeth line is one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK and brings together multiple contracts, new rolling stock and three different signalling systems.”

Crossrail’s Catch-22
These difficulties have been compounded by the slower-than-expected installation of infrastructure in the central tunnels, which has limited the progress of complex testing as fit-out work continues.

Multiple sources on the project have told CN that these tests have been taking place for only three days every couple of weeks. Such short testing periods have not allowed enough time for issues to be properly resolved, they claim.

Crossrail has been left in a catch-22 situation: does it continue to carry out testing and fit-out work simultaneously and slow down both, or does it finish all of the remaining infrastructure work so testing can take place when the contractors have left the tunnels?

The Crossrail insider tells CN that bosses had opted for the second option. “If we try to do piecemeal it will end up like [the] Jubilee line, which took forever,” they say.

The alternative plan
Since the announcement of the overall scheme’s delay, there has been a wave of criticism of Crossrail’s management – not only due to the delay but also the manner in which key stakeholders were informed.

At an assembly meeting at the start of September, mayor of London Sadiq Khan said he was only officially told of the length of delay two days before it was announced on 31 August.

The final countdown

Crossrail has vowed to complete both the railway infrastructure works and station fit-outs, bar Bond Street, by the end of the year.

However, the exact completion date appears to remain uncertain. This was reflected in an interview with Mr Khan earlier this week, in which the mayor said he could not give assurances that Crossrail would be finished by next autumn.

Full dynamic testing of the line is scheduled to start on 22 October, and Mr Wright told the London Assembly it could still be three or four months from this date until Crossrail knows exactly when it is likely to open. The programme will involve a series of tests, followed by what he described as “fixing the bugs” and upgrading software if issues are found. This process will need to be carried out multiple times.

“Until you get into this process of fixing bugs, it is very difficult indeed to be definitive and know how many times you have to go through the cycle,” Mr Wright said. “We have made an allowance, we have made an estimate and we also allowed risk against that; we have been quite cautious and careful about these estimates.”

Nevertheless, it is possible that these processes could take longer than planned – particularly if a safety-critical problem is found.

“There are circumstances you can envisage [of] having a safety-critical software problem late on, which would be difficult to deal with because they need more time to fix,” Mr Wright said. “It is not likely we will find one because we hope to find them on the test rig, test track or on 22 October, but it is possible.”

CN’s source suggests the delay could prove beneficial for TfL, as it will have the opportunity to prepare its staff for when doors open on the new line.

“It does give TfL a good chance to train staff for when it does open,” they say. “It’s not going to be the Greek Olympics situation; all the staff will be very used to the new stations.”

Despite these minor upsides, TfL, Crossrail and their contractors are now locked into making sure the project does not end up facing more hard questions this time next year.

Replies - Newest Posts First (Show In Chronological Order)

Westham67 11:59 Sat Oct 13
Re: Crossrail Bond Street platform tunnels 3 Crossrail: What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
I don't going to be its in foreseeable future Bernie can you imagine the amount train testing for one line alone

Bernie 11:51 Sat Oct 13
Re: Crossrail Bond Street platform tunnels 3 Crossrail: What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
Driverless trains on the Underground are a long way away, but they're coming. Lots and lots of work to do, which will cost a lot of money, but it's coming.

Hopefully it'll come just as I'm retiring and I'll get a big fat pay off

Westham67 11:43 Sat Oct 13
Re: Crossrail Bond Street platform tunnels 3 Crossrail: What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
oooooooh yeah get it haha

Mike Oxsaw 11:41 Sat Oct 13
Re: Crossrail Bond Street platform tunnels 3 Crossrail: What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
...as opposed to substitutes in a football team, who are just late players.

I'll get me coat.

Westham67 11:29 Sat Oct 13
Re: Crossrail Bond Street platform tunnels 3 Crossrail: What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
For those non railway people the proper name for the track is The Permanent Way

The Track used to be laid in plates, track worker are still called in some cases plate layers

munkyfunk 10:39 Fri Oct 12
Re: Crossrail
Balders as long as it don’t come into place in the next 10 years il keep driving.
One thing of note last years low adhesion was best I’ve seen in 10 years. The network rail tree cut back and more mpv definitely made a difference.
Hate this time of year hopefully this year be just as good as last.

balders 5:17 Fri Oct 12
Re: Crossrail
lowermarshhammer 12:35 Thu Oct 11

Apologies when I wrote the reply I didn't realize how up my arese it sounded

I agree you need people on the train or stations because of the unknown (the general public usually or technical issues) so they do need to be competent to drive the train as well

It just the driving issue needs to be computerized now that the headways are reducing


Yeah CBTC moving block moves with the train not fixed by signal track sections , allows better recovery but very expensive that's why only used on metro systems at the moment

simply distance between trains is based on speed, gradient of track braking curve etc

Mike Oxsaw 3:23 Thu Oct 11
Re: Crossrail
Marco Boogers 2:53 Thu Oct 11

I recommend the Central Line, until further notice.

Marco Boogers 2:53 Thu Oct 11
Re: Crossrail
I'm still working on Crossrail for Alstom

I really should be looking to move on to be honest

lowermarshhammer 12:35 Thu Oct 11
Re: Crossrail Bond Street platform tunnels 3 Crossrail: What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
Balders states that humans are not reliable.

I completely agree.

Computer systems are also shithouse though.

Thales CBTC system and Joo Koon in Singapore?

As a human my fault diagnosis, train position detection, central processing and fault recording systems are always operational when I'm at work unlike something that relies on a WiFi signal.

I am not against automation, far from it, but fully driverless is not going to happen anytime soon especially on an antiquated non new build railway.

Of course I understand the need for increased capacity but the poor design positions of platform entrances and exits and the habitual behaviours of 250 sheeple always trying to enter the first two cars whilst the rest of the platform is empty won't change in a hurry.

Route and line junctions will still mean trains are fucking rammed in the peaks and held at 'signals' for extended periods at certain points.

Good luck trying to get all these extra trains through the bottlenecks and pinch points once you bring the human factor of the punters on the platform putting their collective spanner into the works.

Far Cough 11:46 Thu Oct 11
Re: Re What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
Instead of having a fixed block system as most signalling is set up that way, moving block, is more or less the same except, the block moves with the train, you can get better train frequencies with it.

The Victoria and Jubilee lines use moving block

Balders, I think I'm correct?

Westham67 11:14 Thu Oct 11
Re: Re What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
Whats the axel counter system is that the rolling block you mentioned ?

balders 10:43 Thu Oct 11
Re What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
It has to be complicated

No way can anyone drive 90 seconds to 2 minutes apart at up to 80Kph on railways

Humans are not reliable , they are sick, strike lose concentration

Soon as drivless trains happen the better

Westham67 10:36 Thu Oct 11
Re: Crossrail Bond Street platform tunnels 3 Crossrail: What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
We replaced a railway like that in Malaysia with something efficient and reliable, thats all you need from a railway efficacy and reliability which appears to be scarce in the UK mainly due to years of neglect pre and post privatization

Pi Alpha Nu 10:26 Thu Oct 11
Re: Crossrail Bond Street platform tunnels 3 Crossrail: What's really delaying the £15.4bn mega-project
The railways another invention by the British that was great but now they can't get it right.
Why have signals got so complicated?
It used to be Red. Stop.
Amber. Go with caution.
Green. put your foot down.
They should just go back to the old days and use the ones with the arms that went up and down they still got them at Greenford station and there's never been any problems there.

balders 7:37 Thu Oct 11
Re: Crossrail

If it was over 3/4 years would be interested

But as you know currently on 17,500 a month tax free don't think their paying that mate

As for the ERTMS incident understood the driver set the over ride on the vehicle , plus the system wasn't principled tested like the UK

Westham67 12:56 Thu Oct 11
Re: Crossrail
Testing and Commissioning Engineer required for Crossrail.

Source several Railway industry recruiters websites

Not enough money for you balders mate

Guy Gibsons Dog 11:55 Tue Oct 9
Re: Crossrail

It could possibly be a lot more that that it could all be related to the introduction of CSM RA, several projects in Europe have been caught out by this...basically a project starts, legislation changes and a lot of V & V, RAMS etc is no longer valid

eusebiovic 7:38 Tue Oct 9
Re: Crossrail
Gavros 5:49 Tue Oct 9

I thought that too

side effect 6:51 Tue Oct 9
Re: Crossrail
Harold wood still hasn't got the lifts working and the ticket office is nowhere near finished and the walkway after the ticket office looks like it might not be able to cope with the weight.

Gavros 5:49 Tue Oct 9
Re: Crossrail
isnt the signalling due to the legacy anglia and great western lines?

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