Crossrail will be a world-class, affordable railway, with high frequency, convenient and accessible services across the capital, says Ian Brown of Transport for London
Crossrail is a £15.9 billion new railway that will be the largest addition to the London and south east transport network for 50 years. It will increase the capacity of London’s rail-based public transport network by 10 per cent, allowing a further 1.5 million people to be within 60 minutes commuting distance of London’s key business and leisure districts. Crossrail is scheduled to open in 2017 and is Europe’s largest civil engineering project. It is a project of national significance, being delivered by TfL through its Crossrail arm but sponsored jointly by Department for Transport and TfL through a Sponsor Board.
Crossrail is led by Terry Morgan as chairman and Rob Holden as chief executive, with the new top-level management team in place since 2009.
The project has been promoted, and the Crossrail Act was passed in 2008, with strong cross-party support in Parliament. The project continues to enjoy strong cross-party political support in Parliament and in the London Assembly. Following May’s General Election, the Coalition published its Programme for Government, which says: “We support Crossrail and further electrification of the rail network.”
Terry Morgan, Crossrail chairman, commenting on the government’s support of Crossrail, said: “This is welcome news. To get such firm support from the government means the project can go forward with confidence. This construction project will mean a lot of jobs in London and the southeast and a boost for the wider UK economy as a whole.”
The north east leg runs from Shenfield in Essex, along the Great Eastern main line as far as Stratford then in tunnel to Whitechapel where there will be a comprehensive interchange with the new East London line and with London Undergrounds District line.
The south east leg runs from a new interchange at Abbey Wood with North Kent rail services. The government has also confirmed safeguarding of the route between Abbey Wood and Gravesend. The line runs under the River Thames via a new interchange with the DLR in the heart of the Royal Docks at Custom House and then onto the new Canary Wharf station to join the north east leg at the Whitechapel interchange.
The central core runs from Whitechapel via Liverpool Street; Farringdon with a major interchange with the Thameslink project and London Underground; then through Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street to Paddington.
The western runs from Paddington along the Great Western main line with a branch to Heathrow and a branch via Slough to Maidenhead. The government has confirmed that a potential future extension of Crossrail to Reading is safeguarded.
There are 37 Crossrail stations, including eight new underground stations. Crossrail will be capable of taking trains up to 12 cars long and carrying 1,800 passengers during peak hours.
Crossrail is the transport spine needed to underpin job growth in central London, and the Isle of Dogs. It will provide 40 per cent of the extra rail capacity London needs by the middle of this decade. Crossrail will add 21 per cent to the total rail capacity into the City and 54 per cent into Canary Wharf.
Crossrail will be the centre piece of TfL’s integrated rail strategy for London.
Crossrail forms the east to west backbone of TfL’s integrated vision for developing London’s rail network.
Jobs, skills and regeneration
Over the peak construction period of 2013-15, Crossrail will employ up to 14,000 people. A tunnelling academy is also being created, with a curriculum developed to address the needs of the Crossrail project, but also ensure a lasting legacy for the industry.
Some 1,000 people per year are expected to be trained by Crossrail at the academy between 2010 and 2015. In addition, it is Crossrail’s aim to provide 400 apprenticeships through its contractors in electrical, mechanical, finishing trades and tunnelling.
Construction is well under way
Crossrail has secured its funding from central government, the Mayor of London, and major partners including the City of London, BAA and Canary Wharf Group. Enabling works and property acquisitions are in full swing. Physical construction of the project commenced at Canary Wharf on 15 May 2009. The huge cofferdam for the new Canary Wharf station can be seen from the DLR station at West India Quay. Station works at Tottenham Court Road, Paddington and Farringdon station have also now commenced. Formal procurement of all three running tunnel contracts is now underway with tunnelling commencing in 2011.
In 2009, Crossrail appointed the Transcend Consortium (CH2M Hill, AECOM and Nichols Group) as its Programme Partner and Crossrail Central (Bechtel, Halcrow and Systra) as Project Delivery Partner following a rigorous procurement competition.
There are two Crossrail Visitor Information Centres at Whitechapel and Tottenham Court Road where you can find out more about Crossrail and talk to the Crossrail team.
The Whitechapel Centre is located within the Idea Store at 321 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1BU and is open every Monday and Wednesday from 12 noon to 8pm.
The Tottenham Court Road Centre is at 16-18 St Giles High Street, WC2H 8LN (behind Centrepoint, opposite Denmark Street) and is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 12noon to 8pm.
The Crossrail Public Helpdesk is available to answer questions about the project, by telephone on 0345 602 3813, 24 hours a day, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Brown BSc, FCILT is a managing director, London Rail, Transport for London, and a member of the Crossrail Sponsor Board