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Crossrail – improving performance of delivering infrastructure

IET and RAEng factfile: Crossrail – improving performance of delivering infrastructure

Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project. When completed, it will stretch from Reading and Heathrow in the west, across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

The new railway will comprise 100km of track and 10 new stations. Around 24 trains an hour will operate in the central section between Paddington and Whitechapel during peak periods. Each train will be able to carry 1,500 passengers. An estimated 200 million people will travel on Crossrail each year.

During the tunnelling phase of the programme, which comprised 42km of bored tunnels, engineers had to navigate around all sorts of existing infrastructure, including railway infrastructure belonging to London Underground and Thameslink and gas, electricity and water pipelines.

The tunnel works caused settlement and ground movements at the surface, with possible impacts on existing buildings and infrastructure. In total, some 16,000 buildings, tunnels or utilities were potentially affected by the tunnelling works. As a consequence of this, a large amount of instrumentation and monitoring equipment was installed on buildings to check movement. Up to £200 million was spent on instrumentation and monitoring, representing a significant investment.