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Crossrail at SkillsLondon 2008

By Crossrail Press Office

Crossrail, the £15.9bn railway for London and the South East, is taking part in SkillsLondon, the UK's largest hands-on careers and skills event at Excel, London, on 20-22 November.

Crossrail will be a high frequency, high capacity metro railway and is the largest single project in TfL's investment programme. When it opens in 2017, Crossrail will increase London's public transport network capacity by 10%. It will support regeneration across the capital and help to secure London's position as a world leading financial centre. It will cut journey times across London - Heathrow will be 31 minutes away from the West End and 43 minutes from Canary Wharf - and deliver an economic benefit of more than £36bn to the UK economy.

The development and construction of Crossrail provides an inspiring context for young people to learn about engineering, science and technology. The project has a dedicated 'Young Crossrail' programme. This works with all primary and secondary schools within one mile of the railway route to stimulate interest in these areas and inform children about careers in construction, engineering and the built environment.

Once work starts in 2010, as many as 14,000 people will be needed to build Crossrail at peak construction working. The route goes through some of the most deprived boroughs in London and Crossrail intends to give the people who live in those boroughs the opportunity to be trained to work on projects like this. Crossrail intends to establish a National Skills training academy to ensure that local people with the right skills are equipped to work on the project.

On the Crossrail stand students will be encouraged to take part in hands-on activities linked to engineering principles including the construction of a leaning tower and suspension bridge and a laser activity which relates to the tunnel boring machines which will be used to dig the 21km twin-bore tunnels underneath London.

Schools have also been invited to compete against each other in the Crossrail Structures Challenge. Teams of six students from three competing schools will be challenged to design and make a load carrying structure from waste newspaper.

All Crossrail activities will take place on stand J62 in the Design, Construction, Engineering, Manufacturing, Aerospace & Transport Zone.

Crossrail will be working in association with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and member engineers will be on the stand to supervise the activities and answer students' questions about careers in the industry.

Crossrail Executive Chairman and former president of the ICE, Douglas Oakervee OBE, said: "These hands-on events offer young people an excellent opportunity to experience the kind of challenges they may face in an engineering career and to gain a detailed insight into the industry by talking to real-life experts."

Skills London 2008 is presented by London First and is supported by the Learning Skills Council and London Development Agency.

Over 44,000 young people from schools and colleges across the South East have booked to visit the event which is aimed at 14-19 year olds. Families and carers are also encouraged to visit the stand on the Saturday but can attend at any time.


Media contact: Crossrail Press Office: 020 3229 9552

Notes for Editors

1. Crossrail is promoted by Cross London Rail Links Ltd (CLRL). It is currently jointly owned by the Department of Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL). In autumn 2008 CLRL will become a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL.

2. The Crossrail Bill was deposited in Parliament in February 2005. Royal Assent, which gives the powers to build the railway, was achieved on 22 July 2008. CLRL was appointed nominated undertaker for the construction of Crossrail on 24 July 2008.

3. Since Royal Assent progress on Crossrail includes:

  • Appointment of new Crossrail Board and four non-executive directors;
  • Recruitment underway for new non-executive chair and chief executive;
  • Shortlisting for the Crossrail Programme Partner, Delivery Partner and Design Framework for the main works in 2010;
  • Compulsory Purchase Notices issued at Tottenham Court Road;
  • Tender issued for £500m London Underground works at Tottenham Court Road along with trial trenches and utility diversions. Construction to commence in early 2009;
  • £230m funding agreement signed with BAA. The main agreements to underpin the governance are expected by the end of 2008.

4. Crossrail's £15.9 billion funding package was announced by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, on 5 October 2007.

5. Preparatory works for Crossrail will commence in 2009 with main construction beginning in 2010. Crossrail is scheduled to open for service in 2017.

6. Crossrail will run 118 km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels under Central London out to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, joining the Great Western and Great Eastern railway networks. New stations, able to accommodate ten carriage trains, will be built at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Isle of Dogs and Woolwich

7. During the peak periods 24 trains will run in each direction in the central section. It will bring an additional 1.5 million people within 60 minutes commuting distance of London's key business districts.

8. Since 2003 the Young Crossrail Education Programme has been running various events designed to involve young people in the project. The activities are designed to make them aware of the issues involved in large infrastructure projects. They are also designed to support student's National Curriculum studies and teacher's delivery of Government initiatives such as Gifted and Talented projects and the Literacy Strategy.