The transformation of London’s transport infrastructure has been seen by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin who visited one of Crossrail’s construction sites to see tunnel boring machine Sophia in action for himself.
Former miner Mr McLoughlin was back underground when he visited the Plumstead site to see progress being made on the Thames Tunnel.
Once the first trains are running on the new route in 2018 Crossrail will change the way people travel across the capital, dramatically improving access to jobs and leisure services.
As well as cutting congestion and journey times, Crossrail is expected to deliver economic benefits of at least £42 billion.
Patrick McLoughlin said: "Crossrail is one of the Europe’s biggest and most important infrastructure projects and exactly the kind of investment this country needs to compete in the global race. It will transform the transport system in London and beyond, improving journeys times, easing congestion and providing better connections.
"The scale of the work is impressive. The construction site at Plumstead is a hive of activity and this is just one of many sites transforming the capital both above and below ground."
The Crossrail project, which is expected to cost up to £14.5 billion, will provide London and the South East with a world-class new railway that will offer a huge expansion of rail capacity, carrying around 200 million passengers per year.
With 37 stations from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west 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.
Around 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year and the route will provide a 10% uplift to rail capacity in the capital. Crossrail will make travelling in the region easier and quicker and will reduce crowding on London’s transport network, operating with main line size trains carrying more than 1500 passengers on each train during peak periods.
The 2.6 kilometre Thames Tunnel will bore under the river, from Plumstead in the south to North Woolwich on the northern bank. It is the only point where the Crossrail route will cross the Thames.
Gallery - Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visits Crossrail's Plumstead construction site
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