First Crossrail train on test

THE first of a fleet of 66 trains that are being built in the East Midlands for the new £16billion Crossrail line is undergoing testing.

Based on the Aventra platform, Class 345 EMU No. 345001 was shown off to the press today at Bombardier’s Litchurch Lane works in Derby, making several runs on the short test track in its lilac and white livery. There is an absence of a yellow front end too, rules being relaxed earlier in the year as the train headlights are considered sufficient warning.

In the nearby four-road commissioning that opened in the spring and cost £16million to construct, a second Crossrail set, No. 345002 was undergoing testing, alongside the first Class 387 Electrostar for c2c (387301) and a Class 387 for GWR.

The new Crossrail trains are destined to be nine-car formations capable of 90mph with a passenger capacity of 1,500 in total (450 seated), but will initially enter service between Liverpool Street and Shenfield as seven-car units from May 2017, replacing the ageing Class 315 EMUs. The shorter formation is due to the need to lengthen platforms.

In May 2018 nine-car sets will begin operation between Paddington and Heathrow Airport, and the intention is that all seven car sets will be lengthened to nine vehicles by the end of 2019.

The interior of set 002 has a red and cream coloured moquette on the seats, which will also be seen on several of the first units to be completed, but this colour pattern is temporary, and a revised moquette with a greater use of lilac and purple will replace it – thus matching the Crossrail route’s colour branding.

All Crossrail trains will have free wifi and be fully accessible for wheelchair users, their wide gangway style aimed at maximising the number of standing passengers.

Crossrail will connect Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in Kent with Central London, Heathrow Airport, Maidenhead and Reading using a new line that has been driven through the heart of the Capital, creating major interchange points with London Underground at Liverpool Street, Farringdon, Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street and Paddington. The ‘core’ section between Bond Street, Farringdon, Barbican, Liverpool Street-Moorgate, Paddington, Tottenham Court Road, Whitechapel will see 24 trains per hour in the peak, 16 trains off-peak, with eight per hour running to Heathrow.

After the Shenfield-Liverpool Street section begins operation, in May 2018 stage 2 will be the transfer of Heathrow Connect services between Paddington and Heathrow to Crossrail, as well as shuttle services between Heathrow Terminal 123 and Terminal 4.

Stage 3: December 2018 – Services begin between Paddington (Elizabeth line station) and Abbey Wood.

Stage 4: May 2019 – Services between Paddington (Elizabeth line station) and Shenfield via Liverpool Street (Elizabeth line station) commence.

Stage 5: December 2019 – Full route opens, linking Abbey Wood and Shenfield to Heathrow Airport via Paddington. Existing GWR services between Reading and Paddington transferred to Crossrail and extended to Abbey Wood and Shenfield.