Completion of the £14.8 billion Crossrail project to build a brand new railway across London has moved a step closer today (4 June 2015) after tunnelling work was finished.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin joined the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London at Farringdon to celebrate the end of tunnelling on the Crossrail scheme. Work began in the summer of 2012, with 8 1,000-tonne tunnelling machines boring 26 miles of new rail tunnels underneath the capital.
When Crossrail fully opens in 2019, it will transform east-west travel across London and the south east, from Reading and Heathrow through to Shenfield and Abbey Wood. The central section will open ahead of this in 2018.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
Crossrail is an incredible feat of engineering that will help to improve the lives of working people in London and beyond. The project is a vital part of our long term plan to build a more resilient economy by helping businesses to grow, compete and create jobs right along the supply chain.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
This is a major milestone in the most ambitious rail project this country has seen for decades. The Crossrail project showcases British engineering at its best, and I congratulate everyone involved in this impressive achievement.
When the first trains start running through these tunnels from 2018, Crossrail, together with the billions of pounds we are investing in the Thameslink Programme, will transform travel across London and the south east. It will also play a vital role in driving forward our long-term economic plan by boosting business and creating thousands of new jobs.
With the arrival of Crossrail, Farringdon will become one of the UK’s biggest rail hubs with direct connections to London Underground and upgraded Thameslink services. Passengers will also benefit from more capacity and direct connections to 3 of London’s 5 airports and international rail services at St Pancras International.
Construction work will now focus on fitting out the new tunnels and stations, with more than 12,000 people currently working on the scheme. Over the course of the project, it is estimated that Crossrail and its supply chain will support the equivalent of 55,000 full-time jobs across the country.
Crossrail, which is jointly funded by the Department for Transport and Transport for London, is a vital part of the government’s commitment to invest record amounts in the rail network as part of its long-term economic plan. More than £38 billion will be spent on improving the UK’s railways between 2014 and 2019.