The Elizabeth line station at Canary Wharf is finally ready to open as the Crossrail project edges closer to beginning passenger services in central London.

Crossrail has handed the station over to Transport for London (TfL), with final testing and staff familiarisation to be carried out ahead of the high-speed railway’s long-awaited opening.

TfL says the central section of the Elizabeth line between Paddington and Abbey Wood, via Liverpool Street, will begin passenger services in the first half of this year.

Canary Wharf is the ninth of 10 central stations to be transferred to TfL and follows Whitechapel being handed over in August last year.

Work is continuing at remaining station Bond Street.

East London Advertiser: Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild on the Elizabeth line platform at Whitechapel as a test-run train pulls inCrossrail chief executive Mark Wild on the Elizabeth line platform at Whitechapel as a test-run train pulls in (Image: Mike Brooke)

Trial operations started on the central section in November and are set to enter the final stage, with larger exercises involving staff and partner organisations.

Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild said: "We are progressing well with trial operations, which is the final phase before passenger services.

"A series of more complex exercises, which will include evacuations of trains and stations using thousands of staff, are due to begin soon.”

Like the nearby Canary Wharf Underground station, the Elizabeth line station is constructed in a dock - in this case, the north dock of West India Quay.

It was built by the Canary Wharf Group and sits below the five-storey mixed-use development Crossrail Place.

The station box is 256 metres long, which is greater than the height of the nearby One Canada Square building.

During construction, almost 100 million litres of water - enough to fill 40 Olympic swimming pools - were pumped out of the station box and several hundred fish were relocated.

While 300,000 tonnes of material were being excavated, a piece of woolly mammoth jawbone was found along with a fragment of amber estimated to be 55 million years old, which were both passed given to the Natural History Museum.

When it opens, the Elizabeth line will initially operate as three separate railways, with passengers will need to change at Paddington or Liverpool Street for services into the central section of the route.

In the latest plans for a full opening of the line, services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield are due connect with the central tunnels from autumn this year.

The final timetable will be in place no later than May 2023, TfL says.