What is the Crossrail Project and what will it bring to UK infrastructure?
The Crossrail Project is one of the most significant infrastructure ventures ever undertaken in the UK. The purpose of Crossrail is to create the Elizabeth Line and, in doing so, complete the biggest construction project in Europe. Although there has been some controversy surrounding Crossrail it also has the potential to transform the UK’s transport infrastructure.
What is the Elizabeth Line?
It is the first new London Underground line to be constructed in more than 30 years. The new line will run through a number of London stations, including Paddington, Liverpool Street and Tottenham Court Road. In addition, it will connect up areas outside of central London, running more than 60 miles, from Reading and all terminals at Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The new line is expected to be used by more than 200 million people every year and has required the construction of 10 newly built stations and 30 newly upgraded stations.
Where is the Crossrail Project right now?
Although there have been delays, the Crossrail Project is still making progress. Currently, all of the permanent track required has been installed, with some 15,000 men and women working on the project since it first began in 2009. The project has reached the stage of testing with trains being run along the tracks using the a new automatic train control system. The full station plan for the Elizabeth Line has also been released, with the line marked in purple, a nod to the royal after whom the line was named.
How does the Crossrail project benefit UK infrastructure?
The impressive Elizabeth Line will provide a new option for those travelling east to west or west to east. The track will enable fast connections from commuter areas such as Essex and Reading to the centre of London. Commuters making these journeys will be able to take one single train and there will be no need to change stations or lines, as is currently the case.
As the Elizabeth Line shares five stations with the London Underground, it will also serve to reduce the pressure on those central and very busy parts of the Tube network.
Getting from Heathrow to Central London will also become simpler once the Crossrail Project has been completed. It will be around 20 minutes faster to get from the centre of London to Heathrow, making the total travel time roughly 40 minutes.
The Elizabeth Line will also serve to improve the capacity of the London Underground by around 10%. It’s hoped that the additional journeys accommodated by the Elizabeth Line will increase TFL revenues by £200+ million a year.
Improvement works that have been carried out as part of the Crossrail Project have delivered upgrades to stations and track across the line, raising the overall standard of transport infrastructure. It has also electrified sections of the Great Western Main Line.
Crossrail is not without its critics. However, as the project moves towards final completion it could begin to deliver significant benefits for UK transport infrastructure. If you’d like to find out more about UK construction and the opportunities that exist within it, please get in touch.