Network Rail completes major rail upgrades for the Elizabeth line

  • Network Rail has successfully connected the existing rail network with the Elizabeth line tunnels at Pudding Mill Lane, Plumstead and Westbourne Park
  • Upgrade of Gidea Park sidings completed to accommodate the full length Elizabeth line trains
  • Signalling systems have been updated from Pudding Mill Lane to Shenfield to support Elizabeth line services

A series of major milestones in the Crossrail project have been reached with Network Rail completing further railway upgrades along the Elizabeth line route.

At Pudding Mill Lane where the Elizabeth line tunnels emerge and meet with the national rail infrastructure, Network Rail has completed track work to allow trains to enter and exit the new tunnels from the existing above ground railway. Alongside new track, this required new overhead power lines and signalling equipment. This means that all three Elizabeth line portals (Plumstead, Westbourne Park and Pudding Mill Lane) are now connected to the existing railway.

Further up the line, Network Rail has finished work to re-model the sidings at Gidea Park. Over the last ten weeks, teams of engineers have worked around the clock to upgrade overhead lines, signals and track to enable the sidings to accommodate the full length, 200 metre long, Elizabeth lines trains which will be stabled here. The work involved:

  • The renewal of over 3.2km of track, 8,000 tonnes of new ballast and 45,000 concrete sleepers with four new longer sidings replacing five life-expired sidings
  • The installation of new overhead line equipment and signals using 37 steel piles
  • Building driver walkways and installing lighting and track drainage

Stretching from Reading and Heathrow in the west across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the Elizabeth line will change the way people travel around London and the South East and add much needed new capacity to London’s transport infrastructure. A fleet of brand new 200 metre long trains will run on the Elizabeth line, featuring nine walk-through carriages, air conditioning, CCTV and real-time travel information.

Ben Wheeldon, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail said: “Making the final connection between the national rail network and the Crossrail tunnels links east and west for the first time. The completion of these huge pieces of work, including the final signalling commissioning on the eastern section of the Elizabeth line route is a significant step towards ensuring that the railway infrastructure is ready for the introduction of the Elizabeth line and is an important part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.”

Further upgrade works will continue on the Great Eastern Main Line until April to replace overhead wires to improve reliability and continue work to install the systems which will power overhead line equipment. Track closures will take place every weekend until Monday 2 April, including the Easter weekend, between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. This will affect both TfL Rail and Greater Anglia services as well as London Overground between Romford and Upminster.