Designed to transform rail transport across London, Crossrail is a £14.8bn project that covers 38 designated stations with the aim of increasing capacity, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times.
Once completed in 2018, nine new stations will have been created as part of the project, including Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Woolwich and Custom House.
Work started on Crossrail in May 2009 and once work is complete an additional 1.5 million people will be able to access key areas of the capital within just 45 minutes. The project has successfully passed the halfway point with the most recent tunnel unveiled in July 2014.
Situated 15 meters below ground, under the River Thames, the new tunnel was unveiled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt. Hon. George Osborne MP, alongside Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan and a number of Crossrail apprentices who have worked on the tunnels.
Speaking from the site, the Chancellor said:
“As part of our long term economic plan we are investing in infrastructure around the country to create a more balanced, resilient economy. Crossrail is not only providing extra speed and capacity for London’s passengers, but also supporting new housing, jobs and businesses.”
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:
“London is the engine room of the UK and projects such as Crossrail are helping to drive our country’s economy in the right direction. Completion of The Thames Tunnel is yet another important chapter in the Crossrail story – a tale that perfectly highlights how investing in major transport schemes can trigger development and unlock the potential for thousands of new jobs and homes.”
Since 2008 there have been planning applications within a kilometre of Woolwich Crossrail station for 4,286 new homes, over 70,000 square feet of new office space and 114,000 square feet of new retail space. Crossrail will also develop almost 500,000 square feet of residential development above the new station. Berkeley Homes is currently constructing 631 new homes above Woolwich Crossrail Station, of which 265 (42%) will be affordable.
It is estimated that Crossrail will generate at least 75,000 business opportunities and support the equivalent of 55,000 full time jobs around the UK. Three out of five businesses currently winning work on the project are based outside London and over half (58%) are small and medium sized enterprises.
Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director of London Underground and Rail, said:
“The completion of this tunnel under the Thames marks another key milestone in the construction of Crossrail which when it opens will boost rail capacity by 10 percent. Cities are the engine of the UK’s growth and continued investment in infrastructure improvements is vital to create jobs and stimulate growth across the UK.”
As well as the delivery of infrastructure, Crossrail has also trained over 7,000 lorry drivers on how to share safely London’s roads with cyclists and other vulnerable road users. Every frequent lorry driver working on the construction of Crossrail must complete a custom-made course designed in consultation with cycling and road safety campaign groups and the police.
The 7,000th driver to be trained was Matthew Stanton who works for RJC Lowloaders Ltd, a haulage company based in Northamptonshire. The course covers areas such as hazard perception, causes of collisions and driver health. Drivers are also required to watch cycle safety training films designed to help both cyclists and drivers navigate and share the road safely.
For more information about Crossrail, please visit: www.crossrail.co.uk.
Spotlight: Pudding Mill Lane
The new Pudding Mill Lane station is currently the largest station on the DLR network and officially opened to the public in April 2014. The station, along with ‘double-tracked’ rails that link it to the wider DLR network, boosts capacity to enable the railway to carry an extra 1,100 passengers per hour and delivers improved service reliability on the increasingly popular route between Stratford and Canary Wharf/Lewisham.
Transport for London’s DLR Director, Rory O’Neill, said:
“The new station at Pudding Mill Lane is a great asset to commuters, local residents and to visitors to this part of the capital. With the largest capacity on the DLR network the station will provide excellent access for people travelling to new entertainment venues in the area and to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”
The Pudding Mill Lane station project was undertaken with Crossrail, which has moved the location of the previous station to make room for a tunnel portal for one of its new lines, as part of Europe’s largest infrastructure project.
From the end of 2018, Crossrail trains will emerge from the new tunnels at Pudding Mill Lane and join existing rail lines through northeast London to Essex. DLR passengers will be able to interchange with Crossrail, London Underground, London Overground and National Rail at Stratford station.
In a major piece of civil engineering, Crossrail’s works involved building the new Weston Williamson-designed station, as well as a tunnel portal and approach ramp. Careful management of works was required because of the site’s close proximity to vital sewerage and power utilities, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, live National Rail and DLR lines and an entry portal for Crossrail tunnel boring machines heading towards the City.
Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail Chief Executive, said:
“The team is very proud to have delivered this new piece of infrastructure on time and within budget. It required sophisticated engineering and construction work and a great deal of communication and collaboration to get to this point. It is another great example of what can be achieved by working well together.”