Crossrail has announced that the opening of the Elizabeth line, London’s upcoming 12th tube line, has been postponed from December this year to late 2019.

Under the revised schedule, the central section of the line running from Paddington to Abbey Wood will start operating in autumn 2019.

Crossrail, which is responsible for the implementation of the Elizabeth line, pushed back the opening in order to carry out final infrastructure and extensive testing along the route and ensure a complete safety of operations.

The company said that the contractors of the project need more time to complete final works in the central tunnels and develop the software of the railway systems.

“The Elizabeth line is one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK and is now in its final stages.”

Testing on the line has already started, with the additional time expected to help Crossrail to carry out a full range of integrated tests.

Crossrail chief executive Simon Wright said: “The Elizabeth line is one of the most complex and challenging infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK and is now in its final stages.

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“We have made huge progress with the delivery of this incredible project but we need further time to complete the testing of the new railway.

“We are working around the clock with our supply chain and Transport for London to complete and commission the Elizabeth line.”

The project involves several infrastructure contracts, new trains and the deployment of three different signalling systems.

Once operational, the Elizabeth line will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10% and help boost the British economy by an estimated £42bn.

Elizabeth line trains are currently running between Shenfield and Liverpool Street (mainline station) and between Paddington (mainline station) and Hayes & Harlington.