The Crossrail is a 118km railway line that will connect Reading and Heathrow to Shenfield and Abbey Wood, easing travel across central London. More than £15.9 billion has been invested into this East-West railway line which will reduce congestion on London’s busy rail network and improve connections across the capital as part of one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects.
With this new Crossrail line connecting East London to West London, there will be a 10% increase in London’s rail capacity, which should reduce pressure on heavily congested lines. Crossrail will improve the quality of peoples’ journey and enable an extra 1.5 million people living in the suburbs to reach central London for work, business and leisure.
The scale of this rail project is enormous and the 118km of track has demanded the support of 10,000 skilled engineers, designers and construction workers so far. Specialist teams will improve the journey on this network by updating existing tracks and routes through the capital, to make travel by train much more direct and efficient.Space in the city is limited which is why a significant part of the Crossrail network is being built underground. This has required extensive tunnelling and excavation work to prepare the space for the installation of the new line. Between Paddington and Stratford, 42 kilometres of tunnels have been built to accommodate the Crossrail line which goes via the busiest stations in London.
To accommodate an extra 1.5 million passengers on the Crossrail line, 200 metre long trains will run up to 24 times an hour in each direction, with the capacity for this to increase further if and when demand necessitates.
Part of the investment will go into stations around London, the biggest transformation will be the four story leisure complex ‘Crossrail Place’ being built at Canary Wharf. These improvements will enhance the commuter journey and contribute to the overall legacy of this billion pound rail project.
This new rail network will prevent people having to change trains as they cross London and will reduce overall congestion on the busiest lines in the UK by increasing capacity over 10%. More people will have better, direct and efficient access to and from the capital city centre as a result.
Between 2008-2013 there was a 41% increase in planning applications which have been approved as a result of the project, so Crossrail is having a positive impact on the local community. It is estimated that the new railway line could add more than £5.5 billion worth of value to commercial and residential properties in the area.
The scale of the Crossrail project requires skilled people and the project has opened up opportunities for more than 400 apprentices so far. The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) has been established specifically for this project to train construction workers and engineers in the specialist skills needed for tunnelling. Crossrail’s support of gaining essential skills and qualifications for rail engineering should contribute to the industry as a whole over a long term period.
The Crossrail project is benefiting the UK because more than 95% of the construction and engineering contracts have been given to British companies, 61% of which are based outside of London. The project is as environmental as possible, with 95% of the excavated waste going back into nature reserves and nature facilities. Similarly, the longer trains have been based on previous designs so minimal changes have to be made during production.
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