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Crossrail documentary: The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway

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.


Fifteen Billion Pound Railway - The Final Countdown

Fifteen Billion Pound Railway carousel image

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.

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


Fifteen Billion Pound Railway - Series 1

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.

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

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 second 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 series 1.

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Meet the stars of Series 1

Meet the stars of Series 1

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

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