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Central and south east stations

Central and south east stations
Architects impression of Tottenham Court Road Crossrail ticket hall

New Crossrail stations are being built through central London and Docklands at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House and Woolwich. An additional new station is being built at Abbey Wood. It is critical that Crossrail gets the internal design of stations right as the new stations have been designed to last for the next century.

Around 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year and the route will provide a 10% increase to rail capacity in the capital. The new stations need to cope with large numbers of passengers throughout their life, be easy to navigate and able to endure wear and tear. To create this transport legacy for London it is essential to ensure every fixture and component is fit for purpose, cost effective and built to last. 

Crossrail station platforms will be 250m in length to accommodate 200m trains that will pass through each station, as well as enabling longer 240m trains to operate in the future as passenger demand increases.

Dedicated pages are available for each of the central section Crossrail stations.

World-class design

During the detailed design phase, some of the UK’s best known architects worked with world-class engineering firms to finalise the designs for eight of the new Crossrail stations. The results are stunning, sustainable and world-class designs of which London can be proud.

The new stations will take inspiration from the past and from the local area but have a fresh modern twist. The work, at PaddingtonBond Street, Tottenham Court RoadFarringdonLiverpool StreetWhitechapelCanary WharfCustom House and Abbey Wood will be on a scale not seen since the Jubilee Line Extension opened in 1999.

For passengers these new stations will deliver a vastly improved travelling experience, larger station entrances and ticket halls, more space and easy access to Crossrail and other transport services. Crossrail will boost London’s rail capacity by ten per cent, delivering new journey opportunities, faster journey times and up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during the peak.

London has a glorious railway design history that ranges from the Brunel-designed Paddington station, through Charles Holden’s Tube stations of the 1920s and 1930s to the revival of St. Pancras International. Crossrail intends to build on this design legacy and create cost-effective stations fit for the 21st Century while regenerating local communities.

Each of the new Crossrail stations will have a distinctive but consistent design. Building on the architectural legacy of each location, these new stations have been designed to combine the latest station technology with tried and tested engineering solutions. A key element of each station design has been to ensure that the stations are able to cater for future growth in passenger demand.

Architects have used the character and heritage of the local area to inspire the design of each station and to meet the needs of local communities across the capital. They are working with local authorities along the route to make sure the benefits of Crossrail do not stop at the station entrance but are fully integrated with wider development plans.

Designers have also been appointed to incorporate architectural components that will be used throughout the platform and tunnel environments in each station to create an integrated line-wide identity. This design work encompasses wall and floor finishes, lifts, escalators, lighting and signage suitable for use in all the new stations. This systematic approach will create a unified look, maximises value for money and yet allows each station to retain its individual identity.

World-class design teams

Design teams for each of the Crossrail stations featured are as follows:

  • Bond Street - WSP; John McAslan + Partners.
  • Canary Wharf – Canary Wharf Group; Arup; Foster + Partners; Adamsons Associates; Gillespies; Tony Meadows Associates.
  • Custom House – Arup; Atkins; Allies & Morrison;
  • Farringdon – Scott Wilson; Aedas; Burns & Nice
  • Liverpool Street – Mott MacDonald, Wilkinson Eyre; Urban Initiatives.
  • Paddington – Scott Wilson, Weston Williamson; Gillespies.
  • Tottenham Court Road – Arup; Atkins; Hawkins Brown.
  • Whitechapel – Hyder; BDP.
  • Line-wide identity / common architectural components – Grimshaw; Atkins; GIA Equation.

Cost-effective and reliable design testing

To develop and test designs for the underground station platforms, a life-size ‘mock-up’ of a below ground Crossrail platform has been created.  The mock-up has been built to help Crossrail understand how the new designs for new below ground platforms will look in real life and to determine from a practical perspective whether any design modification needs to be made ahead of station construction commencing.

The mock-up will help inform final design decisions about the below ground station environment. It is critical that Crossrail gets the internal design of stations right as the new stations have been designed to last for the next one hundred years.

The mock-up of the Crossrail platform section is life sized, measuring 20m in length, 10m in width, with a ceiling height of 5m above the platform-edge doors. It also contains a 4m long side-tunnel entrance providing entrance and exit.

The mock-up has been created using film set design techniques to replicate the feel of actual finishes, which are significantly cheaper than using actual construction materials:

  • Sprayed Concrete Lining was created by spraying expanded foam onto wallpaper and cut into panels.  
  • Light fittings were made with painted plywood.  
  • Real floor tiles and glass were used but the metal work is actually plywood coated in metal laminate to make it look like stainless steel.  
  • Lower glass plastic reinforced panels were made using a mould, similar to boat making techniques.

The mock-up has been extremely valuable in understanding the visual and spatial effects created by the proposed combination of finishing materials and components within the platform environment.

In finalising its station designs, Crossrail is including lessons learnt from London Underground and TfL London Rail about the operation and maintenance of Tube, rail and DLR stations. This knowledge and experience will help Crossrail to improve and finalise the internal designs and layouts for Crossrail station.  Based on feedback from other organisations, Crossrail is currently evaluating use of all the finishes. For example, fine-tuning the lighting, perception of reflections in the glass screens, relative light levels from advertising systems, types of preferred signage, its placement and the cladding systems.

The flooring is also under evaluation with half of the platform mock-up laid in granite and the rest in terrazzo. Visitors' experience of walking on these surfaces both here and at the live test site at Victoria Tube station will enable evaluation to identify the best suited material. 

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Tunnelling under central London

Crossrail’s tunnelling marathon under London is now complete. Crossrail tunnelling began in May 2012 and ended at Farringdon with the arrival of tunnelling machine Victoria. 

On 4 May 2012, Phyllis, Crossrail's first tunnel boring machine (TBM), started on her journey from Royal Oak towards Farringdon station.  Just over three years later on 23 May at 5.30am, tunnelling machine Victoria successfully broke into Farringdon Crossrail station. The tunnels weave their way between existing underground lines, sewers, utility tunnels and building foundations from station to station at depths of up to 40m.

Tunnel portals, providing access to the rail tunnels, have been constructed at Royal Oak, Pudding Mill Lane, Victoria Dock, North Woolwich and Plumstead.

40 Stations Connected

Building the new railway involves constructing 10 new stations in central London and Docklands and upgrading 30 existing stations between Reading and Heathrow in the west and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.