BBC TWO’s The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway returns for a second series on 22 May at 9pm to follow the construction of the Elizabeth line under London.
Crossrail provided exclusive access to the BBC’s producers Windfall Films over two years as construction of the new TfL-run railway progressed under London. They witnessed the engineering challenges and key milestones including the completion of tunnelling, station construction and installation of the railway’s permanent track.
The first series of The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway aired in July 2014 and followed workers as they tunnelled under London, re-built the Victorian Connaught Tunnel in the Royal Docks and constructed the cathedral-sized new station at Canary Wharf. The popularity of the first series led to BBC TWO commissioning a second series.
Crossrail Programme Director Simon Wright said: “The Elizabeth line will transform rail travel in London and the South East when it opens in December 2018. The second series of The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway not only shows the scale and complexity of the work undertaken to turn the cavernous spaces we’ve created under the streets of London into a brand new railway, but also the incredible people who have worked tirelessly to construct the Elizabeth line.”
Whitechapel Site Manager Jim Forrest, who features in the documentary said: “I’ve worked in construction for over 50 years and worked on some big projects but Crossrail is by far the most impressive. I’m very proud to have been part of the team constructing the Elizabeth line and it’s exciting to give the world a glimpse of the fantastic new railway that will be opening in just over 18 months.”
TfL’s Operations Director for the Elizabeth line, Howard Smith, said: “It’s great to be able to share all the hard work that has gone into the project and take viewers behind the scenes on what it takes to deliver a new railway from constructing stations to laying tracks and building new trains that our customers will soon be using. There’s still more to be done before the Elizabeth line opens in December 2018 but this is a fantastic way to see the progress made so far.”
The first episode in series two follows workers as they complete 26 miles of tunnels, install permanent track under the Barbican, construct the new ticket hall at Whitechapel and welcome Her Majesty the Queen to Bond Street. The episode also follows archaeologists as they uncover a Roman road at Liverpool Street.
Episode two looks at the construction of the new stations at Tottenham Court Road and Paddington, the design heritage of London’s transport network and visits Bombardier Transportation in Derby with Transport for London where the new state-of-the art Elizabeth line trains are being manufactured.
The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway was produced by Windfall Films for the BBC and the Open University. Lee Reading is the Series Producer & Director and Carlo Massarella is Executive Producer.
Gallery - Crossrail construction progress images
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The route will pass through 40 stations from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The Transport for London (TfL) run railway will be named the Elizabeth line when services through central London open in December 2018. The Crossrail project is being delivered by Crossrail Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, and is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and TfL.