9 months after the tunnelling was complete we thought we’d take a look at the progress of the Crossrail Project; the new line linking rail services from Reading and Heathrow in the West to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East.
In case you missed the announcements in February, the line will be named the Elizabeth line when it opens to passengers in 2018. For those of you wondering which new colour will be added to the London rail service map systems, the new line will be purple. HRH Queen Elizabeth visited the Bond Street station in February where she met with workers and was presented with a commemorative purple Elizabeth line roundel.
According to Crossrail themselves, the project is more than 70% complete, is being delivered on time and within budget, which is a great achievement. There have been huge developments underground and overground, with stations, platforms, track and other public spaces being completed. There is still some way to go before we get to see the finished project. In addition to completing 10 new stations there are major upgrades and refits of existing stations to be completed.
More than 10km of new track has been installed and when complete there will be more than 50km of new track installed across the project. It is hoped that test trains will be running through the tunnels in November 2017.
I’m sure, like us there will be many people out there who would love to get a sneaky look at the progress to date. Well, for a few select invitees that was made possible. A recent media event took them 35 metres below ground to view the progress first hand underground. View the Londonist Ltd video of their visit here.
For now, the rest of us are reliant on the regular updates from Crossrail themselves which are very informative and quite extensive. If you’re in London in May or June, there is an exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) offices in Portland Place. The displays will consist of archive material, visualisations and artefacts from the project.
The sheer size of the project has meant that technology and innovation has been at the forefront of everything. There have been thousands of ideas put forward and many trials of new innovations. There are all the expected digital innovations to improve project management and communication as well as some interesting things you may not know about. Here are just a few.
- There have been drone trials to test the effectiveness of using them for inspections, reporting and 3D modelling
- Data modelling in augmented and virtual environments has been used to test effectiveness in design reviews
- Portable projectors have been used in the tunnels to improve the site information available
- Low carbon concretes have been tested for effectiveness in future projects
- Segments of tunnel have tested to assess the ability to harness heat and reduce power requirements
- Fibre optic monitoring has been used in spray concrete lining to understand the curing properties