With less than two months now until that date, is it feasible?
Well, it looks like it may be doable, but could well hamper testing for future full capacity for up to 24trains per hour once all branches to Shenfield, reading and Heathrow run though the core.
Given current low passenger numbers, would TfL want to open in March, carry few passengers and hamper long term reliability even if they are in a position to open?
It’s a decision that won’t be taken lightly, and they may deem it better to play it safe and wait until May. That would still meet the latest public date of the first half of 2022.
Politics will also play a part with a March opening possibly being used to distract from an expected 4.8 per cent fare rise. The Department for Transport may well seek that month and push for it in the next funding agreement.
Trains and signalling
It appears that train software upgrades have gone well with first the ELR100 update then the smaller ELR110 update last month.
Train reliability of the Class 345 still isn’t that good, so that’s another factor to weigh up.
Further details on Abbey Wood, Canary Wharf and Bond Street stations are also expected soon as they are not ready as of today.
With less than two months until that 6th March target and the next funding agreement due in February, we should find out the latest state of play soon.