Crossrail is among the most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK. From improving journey times across London, to easing congestion and offering better connections, Crossrail will change the way people travel around the capital.
General Crossrail info
- Crossrail is Europe’s largest construction project – work started in May 2009 and there are currently over 10,000 people working across over 40 construction sites.
- Over 100 million working hours have been completed on the Crossrail project so far.
- Crossrail will transform rail transport in London and the south east, increasing central London rail capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the city.
- The Crossrail route will run over 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
- There will be 40 Crossrail stations including 10 new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich and Abbey Wood.
- Crossrail will bring an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London and will link London’s key employment, leisure and business districts – Heathrow, West End, the City, Docklands – enabling further economic development.
- The first Crossrail services through central London will start in late 2018 – an estimated 200 million annual passengers will use Crossrail.
- Construction of the new railway will support regeneration across the capital and add an estimated £42bn to the economy of the UK.
- The total funding envelope available to deliver Crossrail is £14.8bn.
Current construction activity
- Work to build a ‘London tunnelling marathon’ of 26 miles (42km) of new tunnels beneath London completed on 26 May 2015.
- A total of eight tunnelling machines were used to construct the new rail tunnels under London.
- Construction work has reached the halfway mark on flagship new Crossrail stations in central London and Docklands.
- The delivery of Crossrail will create thousands of business and job opportunities including 400 apprenticeships. Over 500 apprenticeships have already been created on the project to date.
- For just over three years, eight giant tunnel boring machines burrowed below the streets of London to construct 42km of new rail tunnels.
- Each tunnelling machine was 1,000 tonne, 150 metres long underground factory with 20 person ‘tunnel gangs’ working in shifts around the clock between 4 May 2012 and 26 May 2015.
- Crossrail's tunnelling programme was calculated around a "long average" target of around 100 metres of tunnelling progress per week.
- The fastest day of tunnelling by a single machine was 72 metres by Ellie on 16 April 2014 between Pudding Mill Lane and Stepney Green. Crossrail tunnelling progressed at a collective average of 38 metres per day.
- Over 200,000 tunnel segments were used to line the 42 kilometres of tunnels.
- 5 twin-bore tunnel drives were undertaken to construct Crossrail’s tunnels, which are:
- Royal Oak to Farringdon west (Drive X) - two 6.8km rail tunnels, constructed by tunnelling machines Phyllis and Ada, were completed in October 2013 and January 2014 respectively.
- Limmo to Farringdon east (Drive Y) – two 8.3km rail tunnels, constructed by tunnelling machines Elizabeth and Victoria, were completed in May 2015.
- Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green (Drive Z) - Tunnel boring machines Jessica and Ellie completed their 2.7km tunnel drives from Pudding Mill Lane portal near Stratford to Stepney Green in February 2014 and June 2014 respectively.
- Limmo to Victoria Dock Portal (Drive G) - Tunnelling machines Jessica and Ellie have also completed their second tunnel drives - a 900 metre drive from Limmo Peninsula in Canning Town and Victoria Dock Portal.
- Plumstead to North Woolwich (Drive H) - In south-east London, tunnelling machines Sophia and Mary have completed their 2.9km drives from Plumstead to North Woolwich.
- Over 3 million tonnes of excavated material from the tunnels was shipped to Wallasea Island in Essex to create a new 1,500 acre RSPB nature reserve.
Crossrail, jobs and Supply Chain
- Over the course of the project, we expect there to be at least 75,000 opportunities for businesses, generating enough work to support the equivalent of 55,000 full time jobs.
- It’s not just London and the South East that will benefit from Crossrail. Firms right around the country and of all sizes are winning business:
- 95% of contracts have been awarded to companies based within the UK
- 61% are outside London
- 58% are small and medium sized businesses.
- 44% of small and medium sized businesses said they made new contacts because of their work on Crossrail
Skills and Legacy
- Crossrail has already exceed its target of over 400 Apprenticeships to be created on the project. Over 500 apprenticeships have been created on the project to date.
- The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) is a purpose-built training facility that supports the key skills required to work in tunnel excavation, underground construction and infrastructure.
- By building and establishing TUCA, Crossrail is contributing to the development of new qualifications and Health and Safety standards across the industry.
- Crossrail is working with industry, professional bodies and other organisations with a requirement for skilled underground workers, to ensure that the facilities and training at TUCA are aligned with the needs of the industry.
- TUCA will support the UK economy by equipping workers with the specialist skills they need to meet the demand for labour in this area.
- Crossrail established an accredited Tunnel Safety Card (TSC) in response to an industry need for standardised tunnelling health and safety training.
- Crossrail established a Jobs Brokerage Service in partnership with Job Centre Plus in March 2010. This ensures that new job opportunities are efficiently advertised, and that candidates with relevant skills can quickly be identified for new roles. By January 2016, Crossrail had created 4,443 new jobs, of which 95% were filled by local people, 21% of whom were previously unemployed.
- Contractors across the project are exceeding recycling targets with more than 96 per cent of demolition and construction waste beneficially reused.
- 98 per cent of excavated material recycled with the vast majority being used to create to a RSPB nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex.
- 86 per cent of construction equipment in the central section of the route fitted with emissions controls.
- Development of a new Building Research Establishment Environment Assessment method (BREEAM) for evaluating the environmental performance of new below ground Crossrail stations.
- Crossrail rolling stock procurement included requirements relating to regenerative braking, energy consumption and weight limits.
- All lorries delivering to Crossrail sites are required to carry additional safety features and regular drivers must undergo additional road safety training.
- Measures implemented to track ethical sourcing of material through the supply chain.
- Four Crossrail construction sites won a Considerate Contractor Scheme National Award.
- Research undertaken by property consultants GVA shows that from 2008 to 2013, 41% of planning applications within a kilometre of a Crossrail station cited the new railway as a justification for the development proceeding, equating to around 3 million square feet of residential, commercial and retail space.
- Crossrail could help create £5.5 billion in added value to residential and commercial real estate along its route between 2012 and 2021, according to research for Crossrail by GVA.
- Crossrail will support the delivery of over 57,000 new homes and 3.25 million square metres of commercial space.
- Commercial office values around Crossrail stations in central London will increase over the next decade, with an uplift of 10 per cent in capital value above an already rising baseline projection.
- Residential capital values are projected to increase immediately around Crossrail stations in central London by 25 per cent, and by 20 per cent in the suburbs, again above a rising baseline projection.
- Significant property investment could take place at locations including Canary Wharf, Farringdon, Whitechapel, Abbey Wood, Custom House, Ealing Broadway, Southall and Woolwich.
- Crossrail is already having an impact on property investment decisions particularly in central London.
- The impact of Crossrail on residential property market will also extend out to Berkshire and Essex.
- Crossrail will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10% - the largest increase since World War 2. This will reduce congestion and allow for more comfortable journey conditions.
- Congestion at many London Underground stations will be reduced, even for those that are not on the Crossrail route – such as Oxford Circus.
- Crossrail will improve connectivity: it will make it easier for businesses to move about London, to meet clients and negotiate with suppliers.
- Moreover, Crossrail will make accessing our major international gateways like London Heathrow more accessible - for instance, the journey time from London Heathrow to the City of London (Liverpool Street) will fall from 55 to 34 minutes.
- Crossrail will increase the number of people who are able to access employment destinations throughout London. This will enable businesses to access the people with the skills they need to be able to compete and succeed, and to open up new employment opportunities for individuals.
- Overall, Crossrail will bring 1.5 million more people within a 45 minutes commute of the existing major employment centres of the West End, the City and Canary Wharf (up from five million currently).
- This improved connectivity will also be designed to help people with restricted mobility. New Crossrail stations will have step-free access from platform to street level and for the majority of interchanges with other London Underground and national rail services: 95% of journeys are forecast to have a step-free origin and destination station.
Project timeline and milestones
- Major fit-out of stations and tunnels continues as does the major upgrade of the existing rail network for Crossrail services by Network Rail.
- The first new Crossrail rolling stock will start to replace existing suburban trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.
- In late 2018, the first Crossrail services will start through the central London tunnelled section.
- In late 2019, the full Crossrail service will be operating from Heathrow and Reading to Abbey Wood and Shenfield.
Page last updated March 2016.