London & South East

Crossrail continues


Designed to transform rail transport across London, Crossrail is a £14.8bn project that covers 38 designated stations – including nine new stations – with the aim of increasing capacity, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times.

Crossrail is Europe’s largest construction project and to date, more than 35 million working hours have been completed on the project so far.

The Crossrail route will run over 100km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. New stations created as part of the project include, Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Woolwich and Custom House.

Work started on Crossrail in May 2009 and with construction making great progress on the project, the first services through central London will begin in late 2018. Once work is complete on the scheme, an additional 1.5 million people will be able to access key areas of the capital within just 45 minutes.

Boris Johnson- Crossrail

2013 has been a significant year for Crossrail and at present work is underway to build a ‘London tunnelling marathon’ of 26 miles (42km) of new tunnels beneath London. More than 11 miles have been built so far, with seven tunnelling machines now in operation.

The western tunnelling machines Phyllis and Ada are in central London, with Phyllis nearing Farringdon and Ada at Tottenham Court Road. In the south-east London, tunnelling machines Sophia and Mary have now reached the Woolwich station box.

The eastern tunnelling machines Elizabeth and Victoria have broken through into the Canary Wharf station box and have started their journey towards Stepney Green. A seventh tunnelling machine, Jessica, has recently commenced tunnelling between Pudding Mill Lane and Stepney.

Each tunnelling machine is a 1,000 tonne, 150 meters long underground factory with 20 person ‘tunnel gangs’ working in shifts. At peak, the tunnelling machines aim for around 100 meters of tunnelling progress per week.

In early 2014, Crossrail’s final tunnelling machine will be launched from Pudding Mill Lane in east London. By the end of the same year the vast majority of Crossrail’s 26 miles of tunnelling will be complete, along with the major civil engineering works.


Moving into 2015 and through to 2017, the major fit-out of stations and tunnels will continue, along with major upgrades for the existing rail network for Crossrail services by Network Rail. The first new Crossrail rolling stock will also start to replace existing suburban trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.

In late 2018, the first Crossrail services will start through the central London tunnelled section. Meanwhile, in late 2019 the full Crossrail service will be operating from Heathrow and Maidenhead to Abbey Wood and Shenfield.

Station focus

A large aspect of the Crossrail scheme is to construct major new stations in central London. In Paddington a new station is being constructed under Eastbourne Terrace, next to the mainline station.

Works have been completed on the construction of the station walls and the central concrete columns, whilst the top concrete slab of the station has been cast and excavations have commenced below the slab. Once complete, Paddington Station will be 22.2m deep.


Paddington Station will also feature artwork that is specially selected and worked into the fabric of the station. Measuring the length of a football field, A Cloud Index, by renowned New York artist Spencer Finch, will be constructed into the canopy of the station.

Joining Paddington Station are Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road, two stations that are currently well underway in their significant works. At Bond Street progress continues to be made on the two new ticket halls, located on Davies Street and Hanover Square, whilst at Tottenham Court Road construction of the eastern ticket hall and the new western ticket hall continues.

Work is also well underway on two new Crossrail ticket halls at Farringdon, including one which will be integrated into the new Thameslink ticket hall. Both ticket halls are preparing for the arrival of the two tunnelling machines from the west later this year.

The new Whitechapel station is among the most architecturally ambitious of all the stations on the Crossrail scheme. Key design elements include preserving the existing heritage station entrance with a more spacious forecourt area; and a new ticket hall and larger concourse built above the London Overground tracks. In addition, a new pedestrian walkway is being introduced, along with step-free interchanges between Crossrail, London Underground and London Overground.


At Liverpool Street, Crossrail will build two new entrances and ticket halls, creating new interchanges with the Northern, Central, Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines, as well as connections to Stansted airport and National Rail services.

Costain Skanska JV is the main contractor on both Paddington and Bond Street Station, whilst Laing O’Rourke is the main contractor on Liverpool Street Station and the western ticket hall of Tottenham Court Road.

BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) & Kier Construction JV is the main contractor on Farringdon Station. Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering, Morgan Sindall & Vinci Construction UK JV is the main contractor on Whitechapel Station.

At present the Canary Wharf Group are hard at work delivering Canary Wharf Station, which sees the construction of a station box 28 meters below the water surface of North Dock to create a ticket hall and platform levels. Above the new station Canary Wharf Group is delivering a four-storey retail development, topped by a roof garden, community facility and restaurant which is to be semi-covered by a striking timber lattice roof.


Canary Wharf Station is being delivered by Canary Wharf Group for a fixed price of £500m. In addition, Canary Wharf Group will also contribute £150m towards the £500m cost of the station.

For more information about Crossrail, please visit:

About the author

Roma Publications

Leave a Comment