Cookies on the Crossrail website

We use cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Crossrail website.

Find out why we use cookies and how to manage your settings.

Sustainable Design Choices

Sustainability is one of the seven key principles for the design of the Elizabeth line.

A number of choices were made during the design and construction of the railway which aimed to minimise waste, reduce energy consumption and ensure the railway being delivered would have strong sustainability credentials.

Paddington Elizabeth line station_343792


  • Stations were designed to maximise the use of daylight to reduce the lighting need - at Paddington station, a 90-metre opening helps daylight to reach the platforms.
  • LED lighting across the Elizabeth line is 62% more energy efficient than standard light fittings.
  • Renewables have been integrated into the design from the start with solar photovoltaic arrays at Whitechapel and at Old Oak Common. At Old Oak Common the depot also benefits from solar heating, ground source heat and cooling and rainwater harvesting and recycling for washing trains.
  • In central London, we have installed thermal piles beneath stations and we contributed to research on the utilization of waste heat from the operational tunnels to heat homes.  
  • The tunnelled section has been designed with a gradient up to station platforms, and down from platforms, leading to less energy required for braking or acceleration.
  • Lifts and escalators are significantly more energy efficient than those on the London Underground.
  • Escalators are responsive to passenger flow, slowing when not in use to reduce power consumption.
  • Stations were constructed with low cement content concrete.

Elizabeth line train experience_329793


  • The Elizabeth line trains incorporate a number of energy efficiency measures which make them amongst the best in their class. 
  • Lighter trains are more energy efficient, and the manufacturer produced a train which weighs 319 tonnes against a target of 350 tonnes.
  • They achieved this weight by constructing trains with strong but lightweight materials such as aluminium for the body shell.
  • Trains have an aerodynamic shape that reduces drag even in the tunnelled sections.
  • Carriages are insulated to reduce heat loss.
  • The trains have intelligent lighting with an ambient dimming feature to help reduce energy usage.
  • Driver Advisory Systems (DAS) guide drivers to use optimal energy-efficient driving techniques such as an optimum speed and acceleration required to meet the timetable while minimising energy use.

3_Custom House Station structure complete_190190


  • Eight million tonnes of material was excavated from the tunnels, stations, shafts and portals, more than 99 per cent of which was beneficially reused.
  • Three million tonnes of excavated material was used to construct a landmark RSPB wetland bird sanctuary at Wallasea Island.
  • 80% per tonne-kilometre of excavated material created from the tunnelling and station construction was transported by rail or water.
  • Regular suppliers working to deliver the Elizabeth line designed reusable packaging and protection.
  • Custom House Elizabeth line station was prefabricated in 825 components at Laing O’Rourke’s ‘Explore’ factory in Steetley, then transported and assembled on-site in east London. Manufacturing offsite saved time, energy and waste compared to building the station traditionally - the installation process took a year and a day compared to what would have been multiple years. 
  • Terrazzo, made from waste stone provides a hardwearing sustainable floor surface for many Elizabeth line stations.

Whitechapel Green Roof - 331522


  • Green landscaping around shafts and portals helps to visually blend the infrastructure into the local environment and encourages wildlife.
  • Green and brown roof systems have been installed at Whitechapel, Woolwich and Paddington Elizabeth line stations. 
  • At Whitechapel, above the station ticket hall and walkway is a green roof of carbon-cleansing sedum plants, improving biodiversity, energy efficiency, rainwater runoff, and improving the visual amenity for local residents. 
  • At Woolwich, the brown roof above the ticket hall will self-vegetate over time. 

C315 Connaught Tunnel_19302


  • The Connaught Tunnel has been refurbished and restored to an operational tunnel for Elizabeth line services. 
  • The original victorian station frontage at Whitechapel station, dating back to 1876 has been cleaned and repaired, reducing waste and preserving the local character.