Going Under London

At one point in our lives, we will experience the joys of travelling on the London Underground network. It still amazes me how 150 years ago, the idea to tunnel underneath one of the fastest growing cities in the developing western world became a reality.

Today, we see a much more advanced engineering masterpiece taking place hundreds of metres down, with the announcement of the halfway point of Crossrail.

Launching in 2018, Crossrail will link existing Network Rail services from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, and Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east with new state of the art underground stations opening at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel.

Currently, over 20km of underground tunnels have now been excavated underneath London and the surrounding locations and with over 8000 staff across 40 different sites, Crossrail is far from a small-scale task. With a distance of 42km to be completed by the penned opening date of 2018, gone are the days of a pickaxe and shovel.

Eight giant tunnelling machines are ploughing their way through the solid rock beneath London and at 1000 tonnes in weight and over 150 metres long the push force of these underground factories is huge – the equivalent to the force needed to lift over 2,900 London taxis!

The figures state that once open, Crossrail will increase London’s rail capacity by 10% overnight. I am anxious to see the effects upon the current transport system in place in our capital, as from experience; a number of services are already running at maximum capacity with the underground alone carrying over 1,229 million passengers every year.
Will Crossrail have a positive or negative effect, working in unison to ease congestion and spread the millions of passengers a year, or will the new network be riddled with problems and delays…? I suggest you watch this space and mind the gap.

For more information on the amazing engineering and construction taking place to make Crossrail a reality, click here.

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