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Network Rail awards major Crossrail contract for southeast London

By Nick Mann

Network Rail has awarded a major contract, with a value of approximately £130 million, to Balfour Beatty Rail for the construction of a two-mile section of the Crossrail route from Plumstead to Abbey Wood in southeast London.

The contract will include:

  • The installation of two new dedicated Crossrail lines from Abbey Wood to the Plumstead portal, providing access to the new Crossrail tunnels. The Crossrail lines will run alongside the existing North Kent lines; and
  • Works to modify several bridges along the route to accommodate the overhead electric wires and two new lines that will be used by the new Crossrail trains.

The contract will also include construction of a new station building at Abbey Wood with a new Crossrail platform that will allow for easy interchange with North Kent services. Designs for the new station are currently being finalised. The main construction works will start in 2014, with some preparatory work expected to start later this year.

When Crossrail opens, up to 12 trains per hour in each direction will link southeast London and the Royal Docks with Canary Wharf, central London and beyond, slashing journey times and boosting regeneration in the area.

Passengers in southeast London will benefit from some of Crossrail’s most significant time savings. With Crossrail, the journey from Abbey Wood to Bond Street will be around 20 minutes quicker and passengers travelling to Heathrow will be able to shave around 40 minutes off their journey.

Peter Mason, Network Rail’s Crossrail Senior Programme Manager, said: “Network Rail is undertaking a major upgrade of the existing rail network for Crossrail, including a significant programme of track renewals as well as station improvements. The transformed Abbey Wood station will act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the surrounding area and provide opportunities for local employment, meeting the development aspirations of the two London boroughs it serves, Greenwich and Bexley.

“We’re now looking forward to continuing our excellent partnership with Balfour Beatty Rail to deliver this exciting project.”

Matt White, Surface Director at Crossrail said: “Crossrail will transform rail travel for local residents and contribute significantly to regeneration in this part of southeast London. Fast, frequent and direct services will link residents with central London and beyond, slashing journey times and making it easier to get to a whole range of destinations.”

Under the Crossrail programme, Network Rail is responsible for the upgrade of 43 miles of track, as well as improving 27 stations from Maidenhead in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.


For further information contact the Crossrail press office on 020 3229 9552 or email [email protected]

Notes to editors 

Examples of journey time savings from southeast London

Abbey Wood to:

Crossrail journey time

Time saving on example current journey


11 min

20 min

Bond Street

25 min

19 min


51 min

42 min

About Crossrail

Crossrail will run 118km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21km tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will bring an additional 1.5 million people within 45 minutes commuting distance of London's key business districts. When it opens from 2018, Crossrail will increase London's rail-based transport capacity by 10 per cent, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the capital by providing new transport links with the Tube, Thameslink, National Rail, DLR and London Overground.

Network Rail delivering Crossrail

Network Rail is a key partner in Crossrail and is making significant investment in upgrading the network around the Capital to deliver it. This complements Network Rail’s other work to increase capacity and improve performance across Britain.

Network Rail is responsible for the design, development and delivery of the parts of Crossrail that are on the existing network. Its work will integrate Crossrail with the national rail network, delivering faster, more frequent trains into central London from the east and west. The work includes upgrading 43 miles of track, redeveloping 27 stations, and renewing 20 bridges, as well as removing around one million cubic metres of spoil from the tunnel excavation by rail, reducing the need for construction traffic on the roads.

Network Rail will do all of this on an active operational railway, delivering vital upgrade works whilst minimising disruption to train services.

Further information on Network Rail’s contract schedules is available here.