Elizabeth line service woes: What are TfL planning?

At the time of writing the Elizabeth line is sitting at just 31 per cent of trains running on time so far today. Yesterday wasn’t much better.

These problems appear to be mostly related to a major signalling problem. It’s the latest in an ongoing series of problems afflicting the line in recent months which has ramped up since through-running beyond the Abbey Wood to Paddington section commenced.

There’s various issues at play during that time though one recurring problem has been software problems impacting signalling and rolling stock. This has continued despite a number of software upgrades over the months.

TfL meeting

Yesterday saw a meeting of Transport for London’s Elizabeth Line committee which covers a wide range of topics – with a lot covered on a previous post.

For those hit by delayed trains (including yours truly as we sat and waited with little information at Abbey Wood going nowhere) what is planned to improve the situation?

A Class 345 on eastern stretch of line

Software updates

In recent months performance is far below levels seen when only the core section was running. A reduction would be expected given the need to thread services between other networks in both east and west London, but software issues are still prevalent.

A major software update named ELR400 impacted trains and signalling. TfL now state that “further upgrades planned in July and August” should help. Of course this is assuming they too do not bring along new bugs.

Buggy software has been a common problem with trains from Bombardier in recent years. Since constructing the Class 345 stock for the service they’ve been bought by Alstom after a number of problems, and not just in this country.

Class 345 is part of the Aventra family of rolling stock seeing problems across the country

Transport for London also revealed that some London Overground trains have been delayed from entering service. Again, a product ordered from Bombardier.

For those seeing increased unreliability there’s a lot of hope placed in these upgrades due for this month and next. Given the recent track record perhaps we shouldn’t get too optimistic.


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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

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