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Creating A Railway

Following the completion of the tunnelling phase in May 2015 a network of new 21km twin-bore rail tunnels to carry trains eastbound and westbound was established which forms the central section 'routeway'. The next phase of the project required the installation of all the equipment necessary to make the new rail tunnels into a fully functioning railway and connect with the National Rail lines to the east and west of London.

The routeway includes the key systems that interact with the trains and support Elizabeth line services including the track, mechanical, electrical and traction power infrastructure along with the shafts and portals, Old Oak Common depot and Plumstead sidings.

In February 2013, Crossrail Ltd awarded the contract for a high-voltage power supply, including the provision of traction power, distributed within the Elizabeth line central section extending from Royal Oak portal in the west to Pudding Mill Lane in the east, splitting at Stepney Green Junction and running to Plumstead portal in the southeast. This included the construction of a feeder station at Pudding Mill Lane where power from the 400 kV National Grid network will be converted down to 25kV before being fed into the overhead line equipment that will power the new Elizabeth line trains. A separate feeder station was also constructed by Network Rail at Kensal Green. Four high voltage auto transformer stations were also constructed at Westbourne Park, Stepney Green, Pudding Mill Lane and Plumstead to maintain the voltage along the line.

By April 2013, the contract had been awarded to undertake the major fit-out of the new rail tunnels to a joint venture comprising Costain Ltd, TSO and Alstom Transport (ATC jv). As tunnelling concluded, work got underway to fit out the tunnels with the necessary track, overhead power equipment and services to enable the project to start Dynamic Testing of the signalling and train software in 2018. The fit-out included the installation of over 50km of track, overhead electric conductor rails to power the trains as well as ventilation and drainage systems, 48 ventilation fans, 42km of walkways, 66 drainage pumps, 45km of fire mains as well as lighting throughout the entire length of the tunnels.

Stepney Green Junction_325085

Installation of the track was completed in September 2017. The southeast section of the infrastructure was energised in February 2018, with the first test train run between Plumstead and Abbey Wood that month. In May 2018 the overhead lines were powered up between Westbourne Park and Stepney Green.

In May 2012, Crossrail Ltd and TfL awarded the lift contract to Kone for the new Elizabeth line stations. The Crossrail project has pioneered the use of incline lifts to deliver step-free access where it is not possible to install vertical lifts. Four of these innovative incline lifts will run alongside escalators, two at Farringdon and two at Liverpool Street Elizabeth line stations. By July 2012, Crossrail Ltd and TfL awarded the escalator contract to Otis for the new Elizabeth line stations.

In the entrances and ticket halls each of the ten new stations will have its own distinct character, conceived by different architects which reflect the environment and heritage of the local area. For example, the new station at Paddington will echo the design legacy of Brunel’s mainline building, while the new Farringdon station will take inspiration from the historic local trades of blacksmiths and goldsmiths, as well as the distinctive architecture of the Barbican.

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However, at the platform level, common design components such as seating, signage and full-height platform screens create a consistent and familiar environment. Many of the features synonymous with a railway - such as seating, signage, communications and fire safety equipment, handrails, screens, escalators and lifts – use a set of common parts that employ a clean design language and robust materials to create a consistent and familiar feel for the line.

Multiple entrances and ticket halls, more space below ground and straightforward access to the rest of the transport network ensured that Elizabeth line stations feel spacious and can cater for future growth in passenger numbers. Step-free access from the street to the trains and straightforward navigation will ensure that the central section stations from Paddington to Woolwich are fully accessible for all passengers.

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For the first time in a major UK rail project, the stations, surrounding areas, and the oversite developments were designed at the same time. This integrated approach improves accessibility and comfort and helps to knit the new stations into their surroundings.

Now the Elizabeth line is open, it is already dramatically improving accessibility provision along the route with step-free access to all 41 stations. All stations are staffed whenever trains are running, providing for customers the 'turn-up and-go' assistance service already in operation across the London Underground and London Overground networks. 

Her Majesty the Queen visits the under-construction Crossrail station at Bond Street_227845

On the 23 February 2016, Her Majesty the Queen visited Bond Street station as the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced that the new railway will be known as the Elizabeth line in her honour. The Queen was presented with a commemorative Elizabeth line roundel and met a wide range of people involved in the construction of the Elizabeth line including apprentices working on building the railway, engineers fitting out the station and drivers of the trains that will serve the line.