First Crossrail engineering works will clash with Southeastern line closure

Contractor hosing down bench outside Abbey Wood station
Big day coming up: Contractors were jet-washing benches and pavements outside Abbey Wood station yesterday

The first weekend engineering works on the new Elizabeth Line will take place just 18 days after Crossrail opens – and will coincide with other routes through Woolwich and Abbey Wood also being disrupted.

Passengers will be able to ride between Paddington, Woolwich and Abbey Wood from next Tuesday, with trains running Mondays to Saturdays for the first months to allow engineers to spend Sundays connecting the new railway up to existing lines serving Reading and Shenfield.

But anyone hoping for a fast trip to Canary Wharf or the West End on Saturday June 11 will be disappointed – the day has been set aside for more works on the £19 billion line. More engineering works will also be taking place between Plumstead and Dartford that weekend – meaning rail users in Abbey Wood will go from having one of Europe’s most advanced new railways to enduring trips on Southeastern replacement bus services. Rail services at Woolwich will also be disrupted, with Thameslink not serving the Greenwich line that weekend.

A second Saturday of engineering work has been confirmed for July 30, while a third closure has been pencilled in for October 29. No Crossrail replacement buses are planned.

Howard Smith, TfL’s Director of the Elizabeth Line, told 853: “The Elizabeth Line is set to transform travel across London. It is the most advanced digital railway in the country and set to operate 24 trains per hour in the central section when fully operational. As announced earlier this month, we will not open on Sundays, except for the Jubilee weekend, in the short term so that we can use this time for testing and software updates in preparation for these more intensive services, but there have been three Saturdays identified where we need the full weekend to complete this work.

“By using Sundays and a handful of Saturdays, we have been able to bring forward the next phase of the Elizabeth line to this Autumn, thereby enabling a much earlier near doubling of train service through the central area and direct journeys from the east and west through the tunnel.”

The Queen has visited Paddington station to officially open the line. Formal approval to open was received last week.

New tube maps are starting to appear, while commemorative Oyster cards will also be made available. Some buses on routes 180 and 301 will be given a white and purple makeover to promote the new line.

Updated on Wednesday with new statement from TfL.

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