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Moving Ahead, August 2017

Welcome to the August 2017 edition of Moving Ahead.  This project update is issued four times a year to keep you informed about progress on the Crossrail project.

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Crossrail Project Update, August 2017

The Crossrail project team continues to work around the clock to deliver the Elizabeth line,
the new railway for London and the South East.

Over the summer the final central station platform was completed at Whitechapel station. At all of the central station sites teams are now installing architectural finishes and railway systems to turn these spaces into the fully functional platforms passengers will use from December 2018.

Many of the stations are now emerging above the hoardings, visible as you walk by Crossrail construction sites. You can see the first section of the 120 metre-long canopy roof at Paddington, the black stone walls of Tottenham Court Road station’s western ticket hall, the striking ceilings of Farringdon station, the curved timber station building at Abbey Wood; just some of the bespoke station architecture now visible from the street.

At Mile End, Stepney Green, Cambridge Heath and other nearby sites, the station head houses, which serve as emergency and maintenance access points, have also taken shape and their designs are now on show.

The first of the new trains has entered passenger service on the TfL Rail route between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, giving a glimpse of the new railway to come. As each train rolls off the production line in Derby, they undergo extensive testing before progressively being introduced onto the network.

Through the Crossrail Art Foundation the project continues to work with the City of London Corporation, leading galleries and sponsors to deliver an exciting series of public art at seven of the central stations. Joining a list of world-renowned artists selected to date is British artist, Simon Periton, who will be delivering two art installations at Farringdon.

An enormous amount of activity is taking place together with a diverse supply chain. From architects and engineers designing and building the infrastructure, to the small and medium-sized businesses delivering specialised components the railway, the project is drawing on expert skills within the UK and beyond to deliver a world-class railway.

Moving Ahead August 2017 infographics

Crossrail coming up above ground

At many sites across the route, the new Elizabeth line stations are emerging from behind the Crossrail hoardings. The station head houses, which serve emergency and maintenance access or house ventilation equipment, can also now be seen. Click on the image below to see a snapshot of progress across the route.

Crossrail coming up above ground

As the year goes on, more will be seen as buildings come up above ground, and their bespoke designs come to life.

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Platforms installed at Whitechapel station_271938

All new central station Elizabeth line platforms are now complete following the installation of the final platform at Whitechapel station at the beginning of the summer.

The completion of the 240 metre-long platforms makes way for architectural and railway systems fit-out works to progress. Flooring, wall finishes, platform screen doors and lighting will now need to be installed on the platforms as part of the works to help turn these construction sites into an operational railway.

See how the new Elizabeth line stations are taking shape below ground.


Later this summer the final section of permanent track for the project will be laid at Whitechapel station, marking the end to all new track installation in the new tunnels.

Five different types of track have been installed. Standard track slab forms 80 per cent of tracks in the central section. Direct fixed track has been used in Connaught Tunnel and floating track slab (light and heavy) and high attenuation sleepers have been used to reduce noise and vibration in sensitive areas such as underneath Soho and the Barbican.

More than 50 kilometres of tracks have been laid using approximately 70,000 sleepers and 57 kilometres of rail and 13,500 cubic metres of concrete.


A dedicated team of engineers is working around the clock to install the overhead catenary system that the new Elizabeth line trains will use to draw power to operate inside the tunnels.

Installation is now underway at Connaught Tunnel and will continue to move west through the central section.

The main power supply in the tunnels under central London will come from two new bulk supply points – one at Pudding Mill Lane in the east and the other at Kensal Green to the west.

Find out more about Crossrail's rail fit-out progress.


First of new state-of-the-art Elizabeth line trains welcomed into passenger service

Following an extensive testing and assurance process, the first class 345 future Elizabeth line train was introduced into passenger service in June and will continue operating during
off-peak services for now.

The train is now part of the fleet that runs on the TfL Rail services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield. Over the next 18 months, more of the new trains will be introduced into passenger service, progressively replacing the existing fleet.

At full length (nine carriages; 200 metres long), the accessible, lightweight air-conditioned trains will offer space for 1,500 people. Production of the full fleet of 70 trains continues at Bombardier’s factory in Derby. Once built, each train has to go through extensive testing before being introduced into service.

Find out more about the new trains.


Simon Periton has joined the team of world-renowned artists delivering public artworks for the Elizabeth line. Periton, whose work ranges from subtly inserting messages into genteel cut-outs to large scale public commissions, has found inspiration for this latest work in Farringdon’s rich history.

At Farringdon station’s western ticket hall, large diamonds will appear to tumble around the escalators on the lower concourse level. A homage to the goldsmiths, jewellers and ironsmiths of nearby Hatton Garden, the two metre tall designs will be digitally printed onto the glass wall panels.

The glass wrapping three sides of the eastern ticket hall building will be covered with a subtle pattern that reflects the elaborate Victorian metalwork of the historic Smithfield Market opposite. Changing shadows will be cast across the interior space during the day, while in the evening, station lights will illuminate the design from inside, offering a dramatic new perspective.

New public art will be installed at seven Elizabeth line stations. With 200 million passengers a year, this will make the Elizabeth line one of the UK’s largest public galleries.

Find out more about the Crossrail Art Programme.


Wallasea Island WIld Coast Project July 2017_275952

More than seven million tonnes of earth was excavated during Crossrail’s tunnelling marathon. Three million tonnes of it was used to help create a wildlife sanctuary at Wallasea Island in Essex.

Two years on from completing the new wetland and breaching the sea wall, a record number of wildlife have made this sanctuary their home. A diverse mix of 12,000 wintering birds were recorded on the island by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Find out more about Crossrail's approach to sustainability.


Integrated with the existing DLR station with homes to the north and ExCeL London to the south, the new station makes the most of the limited space it has available. Designed to create a welcoming civic presence for local people and regional and international visitors, the station plan is a simple, straightforward journey from the entrance to platforms.

An 18 degree angle, derived from the road junction at the southern end of the station features in the patterns on the ceiling and pavement. Air-filled translucent pillows form the roof, providing shelter and natural light to filter into the station.

Passengers will experience a simple, straightforward journey, with step-free access, from the street to the train doors. Access to the Elizabeth line platforms is via lifts, stairs and escalators from a spacious upper concourse. Urban realm enhancements include a new landscaped area with planting, cycle parking, wayfinding and improved lighting.

A new public artwork will be created with the local community for the two kilometre trackside wall. The design will run from Custom House through to Silvertown and North Woolwich. Information on how the local community can get involved in its design will be available soon.

Find out more about your new Elizabeth line Custom House station.

Crossrail books: Stories from the Project

Crossrail books covers_hero

Discover stories from Crossrail in a selection of books that offer insight into the archaeology, tunnelling, architecture and design on the project.

Browse the selection available.


  • Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail: See more than 500 archaeological objects unearthed during construction. Free family exhibition at Museum of London Docklands.
  • The Design Line exhibition: A family exhibition about the stations, art and public space on the Elizabeth line. At London Transport Museum.

Find out more information about future Crossrail events.

Crossrail’s approach to design - stations, art and public space

Crossrail’s approach to design - stations, art and public space

In constructing ten new stations Crossrail has experienced varying engineering challenges and environmental considerations... Read more

Fitting out the railway

Fitting out the railway

Crossrail is now focussed on the complex task of fitting out the new Elizabeth line tunnels and stations with the necessary... Read more

A world-class new railway for London and the south east

A world-class new railway for London and the south east

Crossrail Limited is building a new railway for London and the South East, running from Reading and Heathrow in the... Read more

Near You

Near You

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