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Whitechapel station transformation on track as Crossrail starts work on local street improvements

By Stuart Buss

Whitechapel station transformation on track as Crossrail starts work on local street improvements
  • Improvement works to Court Street set to start this week to pave the way for  the creation of a temporary new station entrance
  • Crossrail’s most architecturally ambitious new station begins to take shape

Work to transform Whitechapel station for new Crossrail services is making good progress as the project moves into an important stage of construction, including the start of work on local street improvements.

The new Whitechapel station plans are among the most architecturally ambitious on the Crossrail project. Key design elements include preserving the existing heritage station entrance with a more spacious forecourt area; a new ticket hall and larger concourse built above the London Overground tracks, stretching from the station entrance on Whitechapel Road to Durward Street; a new pedestrian walkway providing a safe route for local residents from Durward Street on to Whitechapel Road; and a more integrated station layout allowing easy, step-free interchanges between Crossrail, London Underground (Hammersmith & City and District lines) and London Overground.

Early next year, the existing station entrance on Whitechapel Road will be temporarily closed to allow improvement works to take place. A new temporary station entrance will be created on Durward Street, accessible from Whitechapel Road via Court Street and Fulbourne Street.

Before the temporary station entrance opens early next year, Crossrail is now starting work on a range of improvements along Court Street between May 2013 and early 2014 to ensure it provides a safe and accessible route for local residents and passengers.

The improvements will include new improved surfacing with the current roadway raised to create a level surface for pedestrians to use, and better lighting throughout.

The bridge section of Court Street will be closed towards the end of next week to allow the first phase of works to take place. The southern section of Court Street will initially remain open but will then be closed later this year to allow the improvement works to continue. Diversions will be in place for local residents via Fulbourne Street and on to Whitechapel Road whilst these works are underway.

Along with the improvement works on Court Street, the wider construction of the new Whitechapel station remains firmly on track. Work is continuing across a number of sites in the local area and progress made to-date and future construction activity includes:

  • Tunnelling work taking place around 32 metres below ground to create around 1km of new station platforms and cross passages for Crossrail services
  • Tunnelling work is well underway to create 355 metres of cross passages and 640 metres of twin platform tunnels for the new station – each platform tunnel is 9 metres in diameter and will accommodate the new 250 metre long platforms
  • Excavation works well underway to create a 35 metre deep shaft near Durward Street – the Durward Street shaft will sit at the north-west end of the new station concourse and will form the main access route to the Crossrail platforms
  • Works underway to create a 30 metre wide, 35 metre deep shaft close to Cambridge Heath Road – the shaft will be located at the eastern end of the new Crossrail platforms and used for tunnel ventilation and emergency access once Crossrail services start operating. Shaft excavations have already reached a depth of 22 metres
  • A range of utility works are nearing completion in the local area to check the condition of existing gas and water pipes and other utilities ahead of Crossrail’s tunnelling machines passing through the Whitechapel area later this year

The construction of the new Whitechapel station is a challenging project with work taking place in multiple sites within a confined area – station improvements are being delivered within the constraints of the existing London Underground and London Overground lines as well as a number of residential buildings, local businesses and roads.

Bill Tucker, Crossrail Area Director Central said: “Whitechapel is one of Crossrail’s most ambitious new stations but also one of our most challenging, with a range of improvements being delivered in a tightly constrained area. We are working hard to minimise disruption in the local area so we would like to thank local residents and businesses for their patience while we carry out these essential works. Construction is making good progress and we are on track to deliver a world-class new station and improved transport links for Whitechapel.”

When Crossrail opens in 2018, up to 24 Crossrail trains per hour will operate in each direction between Paddington and Whitechapel during peak times, in addition to the existing London Underground and London Overground services. The new Crossrail services will help ease overcrowding on existing rail services and will support economic growth in the surrounding area, as Whitechapel becomes an important interchange on the Crossrail route. Journey times from Whitechapel to Heathrow Airport will be only 39 minutes, whilst Whitechapel to Canary Wharf will be reduced to just 3 minutes.

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

About Crossrail:

The total funding envelope available to deliver Crossrail is £14.8bn. The Crossrail route will pass through 37 stations and run 118 km (73 miles) from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km (13 miles) tunnels below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Crossrail is being delivered by Crossrail Limited (CRL). CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London. Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.