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Crossrail documentary: The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway

The BBC produced a three-part documentary series which took the public behind the scenes of Europe’s largest infrastructure project as it constructs a new rail line through the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities.

BBC 2’s Fifteen Billion Pound Railway first aired on 16 July 2014 and followed the construction of the new train tunnels and stations under London.

Crossrail provided exclusive access over two years to the BBC’s producers Windfall Films who spent time with our tunnellers and engineers as construction of the new railway progressed. They witnessed the engineering challenges and key milestones including the spectacular tunnel machine breakthroughs.

The series has been released on DVD. It can be ordered via the London Transport Museum shop and Amazon.

For more information about The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway visit the BBC website.


Episode one: Urban Heart Surgery

Ed Batty - Shift Engineer, Crossrail Western Tunnels_149858

The first episode follows the team of workers as they drive 1,000-tonne tunnel boring machine, Ada, through Tottenham Court Road station within 800mm of the operating Northern line.

It also looks at how Crossrail has ensured Bonhams auction house in Mayfair is able to receive its vintage cars for auction.

Visit the BBC website for further information about the show.

Episode two: Tunnels Under the Thames

Connaught Tunnel Project Manager Linda Miller and Shift Engineer Alex Mitchell_150136

The episode sees the Bermingham father and son team follow in the tradition of tunneling greats, the Brunels, and build new train tunnels under the River Thames in southeast London.

Meanwhile, Project Manager Linda Miller is rebuilding the Victorian Connaught Tunnel under the Royal Docks.

Visit the BBC website for further information about the show.

Episode 3: Platforms and Plague Pits

TBM Victoria breaksthrough into Whitechapel Station_134404

The final episode tracks the team as they construct the cathedral-sized new station at Canary Wharf. The cameras join engineers as they carve out the underground caverns that will become the new stations at Liverpool Street and Whitechapel.

And, it follows archaeologists as they uncover a 14th Century emergency burial ground, established ahead of the plague.

Visit the BBC website for further information about the show.

Find out more about some of the stars of each episode.

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Meet the stars

Meet the stars

Meet some of the stars of the show that feature throughout the series.

Crossrail’s 26 mile tunnelling marathon complete

Crossrail’s 26 mile tunnelling marathon complete

Over the last three years, eight 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines have bored 42km or 26 miles of new 6.2 diameter rail... Read more

Near You

Near You

Explore Crossrail's stations, tunnels and archaeological works Near You