From 2018 the site known as Paddington New Yard will accommodate Crossrail’s new operational railway.
Work is currently taking place on the Network Rail-owned site and once construction is complete on the project, Crossrail services will operate from the site, effectively becoming the western entrance for Crossrail’s tunnels under central London.
Costain is undertaking the work on the Paddington New Yard project, which will lay the foundations for new Crossrail tracks and turn-back sidings. Costain is the UK’s leading engineering solutions provider and places responsibility and innovation at the heart of its business.
Prior to the arrival of Crossrail, the Paddington New Yard site was utilised as a maintenance and overnight bus stabling space. As part of the project a replacement elevated bus deck facility, able to accommodate 150 buses will be created, in addition to the installation of a new concrete batching factory.
Work began on the project in December 2013, with construction taking place in April 2014.
Speaking to Rail Construction News, Project Manager for the Paddington New Yard project, Simon Pledger, said:
“Paddington New Yard is a site which is situated between Paddington Station and Westbourne Park Station. To the south and north, the site is bound by railway, road and a canal; to the west is an existing bus depot, whilst the remaining side houses a number of high-rise office buildings – so there is a lot of infrastructure around the site. We have a number of tenants who we will have to return to the site once work is complete and we will be creating replacement facilities.”
Whilst work is taking place on the project, Oxford Archaeology has undertaken archaeological excavations in partnership with Ramboll, as part of the UK’s largest archaeological programme. The team has so far encountered a number of finds; some of which were charted and some were not.
Fascinating discoveries have included Victorian-era rail infrastructure, which have been uncovered for the first time in more than 100 years. Such finds include foundations for Brunel train sheds and workshops, dating from the 1850s, as well as a 45ft train turntable from the 1880s.
The broad-gauge engine shed was built in 1852/1853 and came into use from 1854, when Brunel’s new Paddington Station opened and engineering workshops were moved to Westbourne Park. Meanwhile, the turntable dates from 1881/1882 and was constructed by the Great Western Railways works at Swindon.
Crossrail’s Lead Archaeologist, Jay Carver, said:
“Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Great Western Railway is the most complete early mainline railway in the world. Whenever we expose parts of the original infrastructure it is vital to record these for posterity and the history of rail in this country.”
To date, Crossrail’s archaeology programme has discovered more than 10,000 items, spanning 55 million years of London’s history, across 40 construction sites. Notable finds include Roman remains, plague pits, the Bedlam hospital burial grounds and a Tudor manor house.
As another important stage in the Crossrail project is now underway, Project Manager Simon describes the importance of the project.
“Being involved with a project such as Crossrail is fantastic. Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and one which is being driven through the centre of London. To lead a team which contributes to this scheme is extremely important to me and I thoroughly enjoy the challenges that it brings.”
Designed to transform rail transport across London, Crossrail is a £14.8bn project that covers 40 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 is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.
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.