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INFO Magazine - East London Line Testing & Commissioning

Posted on 06 Sep 2010
By Frederic Sancho and Patrick Laval.

The New East London line, known as well as the ‘East London Line extension’ was officially been handed over to Transport for London (TfL) on 23 January 2010. There are still a number of outstanding activities currently taking place but the majority of the works have been sufficiently complete for TfL to start running trains to an official timetable, still without passengers at this point in time, during what is called the ‘Trial Operations’ phase of the project.

That phase will involve, in particular, driver route learning and station staff training. A final but crucial stage that should provide confidence that London Overground can actually deliver a proper service to passengers before line opening to members of the public in a couple of months.

This hand-over was secured after a very successful period of 13 weeks of ‘Test Running’ entirely managed by the Balfour-Beatty Carillon Joint Venture (BB-CJV). This was the first time that the infrastructure, rolling stock and operations were brought together and tested as an integrated railway system. Starting on 5 October 2009, staff from London Overground Rail Operations Ltd (LOROL), Bombardier and BB-CJV were engaged in testing the infrastructure by pushing the new railway to its limits.

Working directly for BB-CJV, Ascenda Management Consulting Ltd has been pivotal in preparing, organizing and managing the Testing & Commissioning of the new East London Line, including the safe running of trains during the Test Running period of the project. By providing a number of individuals with a ‘can do’ attitude at key positions within the Contractor’s organisation, Ascenda Management Consulting ensured that processes were established months before testing activities commenced so the project could be delivered successfully. Despite the fact that the company could not staff the entire testing & commissioning department that at peak was accounting for more than 35 engineers and technicians, it provided the project with a framework to work to, mostly derived from the success of the commissioning of High Speed One in 2007, the first high speed line railway in the UK.