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Our Journey to Complete the Routeway

Our Journey to Complete the Routeway

Completing the routeway works involved converting the new twin-bore tunnels under London into a functioning railway with tracks, lights, evacuation walkways and power.

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

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



The central section routeway features multiple different types of key systems within the entire tunnelled section of the Elizabeth line route.

Routeway Project Manager Camilla Burrow explains how the Elizabeth line’s routeway was constructed.


Approximately 64km of the new, permanent track has been installed between Westbourne Park through to Plumstead and Pudding Mill Lane.

  • 13,500 m3 of concrete – enough to fill several Olympic sized swimming pools – was poured as part of the track installation.
  • Around 250,000 holes were drilled during routeway fit-out for electrical, mechanical and safety infrastructure.
  • Approximately 45km of firemain and 42km of evacuation walkway installed in the routeway.
  • Over 1,500km of cable installed to supply power to 4,500 tunnel luminaries and 66 ventilation fans in the central section routeway.
  • Four critical radio systems installed using 146km of ‘leaky feeder’ radiating cable.