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Crossrail works successfully delivered by Network Rail over Christmas

By Nick Mann

  • Biggest single engineering operation ever mounted by Network Rail for the Crossrail project with over 4,000 workers delivering improvements over Christmas
  • Works will allow for the introduction of more electric Great Western Railway (GWR) services and help to prepare for the arrival of the Elizabeth line
  • Final stage of huge Stockley Flyover opens; new diveunder at Acton opens

In the biggest single engineering operation ever mounted by Network Rail for the Crossrail project, major works were completed to the existing railway in outer London, Berkshire and Essex.

More than 4,000 workers were out on the railway over the ten-day Christmas period carrying out more than 330,000 hours of carefully planned work which will ultimately integrate the new tunnels beneath London with the existing rail network. This is vital as three quarters of the route – which will be known as the Elizabeth line from 2018 – will run above ground in outer London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex, bringing 1.5 million more people within 45 minutes of central London.

Many elements of Network Rail’s Christmas work are not only critical for the delivery of the Crossrail project but will also deliver immediate benefits for passengers. The upgrade work that was delivered includes:

  • Opening the second ramp of the Stockley Flyover at Heathrow junction and a new diveunder at Acton. These major new structures have been built as part of the Crossrail project but will be used by GWR and Heathrow Express trains, adding capacity and improving reliability on this busy section of the Great Western Main Line.
  • Opening the bay platform at Hayes & Harlington, which will allow GWR to bring in even more new electric trains, increasing frequency between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington to a half-hourly service.
  • Upgrading and remodelling the track at Maidenhead. This included the installation of 11 new sets of points and continued work to electrify the railway between Maidenhead and Heathrow junction that will allow for the introduction of new electric trains.
  • Platform extensions at a number of locations including West Ealing, Southall and Hayes & Harlington stations in order to accommodate the longer GWR and Elizabeth line trains.
  • Major improvements to the railway in Essex, to pave the way for the introduction of new, quieter, more reliable electric trains for TfL Rail passengers from 2017. These improvements include major remodelling of the track and sidings at both ends of Shenfield station and building a new platform for future Elizabeth line services.

Matthew Steele, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail, said: “Successful completion of these Christmas works was vital to delivering the Elizabeth line. As part of our Railway Upgrade Plan they will benefit passengers by improving reliability, increasing the capacity of the rail network and enabling the introduction of new rolling stock. I would like to thank passengers and our lineside neighbours for their patience whilst we carried out our work over the festive period.”

Matthew White, Surface Director at Crossrail said: “The Elizabeth line will provide a step change in public transport for many thousands of people in outer London, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Essex – new trains, quicker journeys and better stations. The programme of work delivered by Network Rail over Christmas will provide immediate benefits for passengers as well as helping to prepare for the arrival of the new Elizabeth line services.”

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “The Thames Valley is one of the most popular rail corridors in the UK. We have promised the current fleet would be upgraded to provide much needed additional capacity and faster journey times.

“We started to run our first new electric trains in September and with this Christmas work completed, on time, I am delighted to say that we can now deliver even more of those improvements – with a half hourly services between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. The new trains will deliver consistent, high quality travel for customers across the Thames Valley, offering at-seat power sockets, air conditioning, extra luggage space and free WiFi for customers.”

Key facts and figures:

  • £45m programme of work
  • Over 4,000 staff worked more than 330,000 hours
  • 19 different sites on the rail network across Berkshire, outer London and Essex
  • 75 engineering trains used
  • Nearly 6km of new track, 35 new points and 79 signals commissioned into service
  • Two new major structures brought into service – Stockley Flyover and Acton Diveunder

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For further information contact the Crossrail Press Office on 020 3229 9552 or email [email protected]

About Crossrail and Network Rail:

Network Rail is a key partner in delivering the Crossrail project. It is responsible for the design, development and delivery of the parts of the route that are on the existing rail network in outer London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex.

Network Rail’s work, which will integrate the new rail tunnels beneath London with the existing rail network, includes upgrades to track, major civil engineering projects, new overhead electrification equipment and improvements to stations and bridges.

The route will pass through 40 stations from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The Transport for London (TfL) run railway will be named the Elizabeth line when services through central London open in December 2018. The Crossrail project is being delivered by Crossrail Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, and is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and TfL.