Crossrail Limited (CRL), established in 2001, is the company set up to build the new Elizabeth line, a new railway for London and the South East of England, and the largest construction project in Europe.
CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL) and is jointly sponsored by TfL and the UK Government’s Department for Transport (DfT).
The Crossrail project will deliver 10 new stations and 31 station infrastructure upgrades across its 100-kilometre route. Over a three-year period, eight 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines bored 42 kilometres of new, 6.2 metre diameter rail tunnels under London, excavating 3.4 million tonnes of material.
During construction, the project has supported 55,000 jobs and over 1,000 apprentices. It has beneficially reused construction waste to build wildlife reserves and uncovered over 10,000 artefacts for London’s archaeological archive.
When fully opened, the Elizabeth line will add 10% to central London’s rail capacity, reduce journey times and increase customer choice. Within the central section, 24 trains per hour will operate in both directions enabling 200 million passenger journeys per year.
Crossrail, to be opened as the Elizabeth line, is the most significant addition to London’s underground transport network for 30 years, running from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through 42 kilometres of new tunnels under central London, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. Some services are already in operation on the periphery of central London.
Crossrail is currently Europe’s biggest construction project beginning in 2009 and now moving on to the completion of the systems fit-out of the stations and tunnels, signalling systems, and the commissioning of the line’s rolling stock across 41 Elizabeth line stations, including 10 new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich and Abbey Wood.
New state-of-art trains will carry an estimated 200 million passengers a year. The new service will reduce journey times, increase the capital’s rail capacity by 10% and bring an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London.
Building upon experience from previous projects including High Speed 1 (HS1), Heathrow Terminal 5 and the London 2012 Olympics, Crossrail has developed world-class expertise in major infrastructure delivery from the initiation stage through to delivery and commissioning, and it is this expertise and reputation that Crossrail International is founded upon.
The project was undertaken in one Europe’s busiest and most complex cities, with a hugely complex stakeholder environment and over 40 work sites embedded within existing communities. Its management of stakeholder relations successfully kept London moving through nine years of construction – including its hosting of the 2012 Olympics – as work proceeded on the doorsteps of millions of workers, residents, tourists, businesses and homes.
Crossrail has delivered positive social, economic and environmental change to the communities along the route, as well as nationally. It is estimated that Crossrail will provide £42 billion of benefits to the UK economy and support the delivery of over 57,000 new homes along the length of the route.
The project has created over 1,000 apprenticeships, as well as built a tunnelling and underground construction academy (the only one of its type in Europe) to train its 14,000-strong workforce. In addition, it has built Europe’s largest man-made nature reserve in the Thames Estuary using spoil removed from its tunnels.
Documented examples of innovation, good practice and lessons learned from the Crossrail project are available to all stakeholders via the Crossrail Learning Legacy website.