Crossrail Ltd plans to open the central section of the Elizabeth line in summer 2021, the firm said on Friday.
The publicly-owned firm said its detailed cost forecasts continue to show that the project will be delivered within the additional funding of between £400m and £650m announced in November 2019, although this will mean that the entire project will cost over £18bn.
An image from dynamic testing of the line
It said its latest forecast is based on the current progress with completing software development for the signalling and train systems along with safety assurance for the railway so that intensive operational testing can begin this year.
Chief executive Mark Wild said: ‘I know that Londoners are deeply frustrated by the delays to the Elizabeth line and we are doing everything we can to get this railway finished and open. We continue to make good progress with the central section now reaching substantial completion and we are increasingly confident that Bond Street station will be ready to open with the rest of the railway.
‘We have a comprehensive plan to complete the Elizabeth line and the milestones we must hit during 2020, including the testing of the signalling and train systems and safety assurance, but there are no shortcuts to delivery of this hugely complex railway.’
Crossrail Ltd said the central section remains on schedule to be substantially complete by the end of the first quarter of this year except for Bond Street and Whitechapel stations, where work will continue, concluding at the end the year. Fit-out is nearing completion at many stations with all physical works complete in the tunnels, shafts and portals.
The firm said it expects to transition into intensive operational testing of the central section, known as trial running, in the autumn. This will see multiple trains operating in the tunnels to simulate the Elizabeth line timetable.
It said good progress continues to be made with completing software development for the signalling and train systems along with the safety assurance for the railway so that trial running can begin at the earliest opportunity.
Following the opening of the central section, between Paddington and Abbey Wood, full services across the Elizabeth line route from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the East will commence by mid-2022.
This will connect the eastern and western sections straight through central London.
Last month Transport for London started running the stopping services between Paddington mainline and Reading ahead of the service becoming part of the Elizabeth line.