• £14.5m package of work carried out at 21 different locations to prepare tracks, infrastructure and stations for new railway that will be known as the Elizabeth line
  • Network Rail works around the clock as part of huge programme of upgrades

Network Rail continued its massive programme of works on the Crossrail project over the May bank holiday weekend with 1,800 people working around the clock to deliver important upgrades to the railway.

With three quarters of the route – which will be known as the Elizabeth line from 2018 – running above ground, Network Rail’s work is vital as it will link the new tunnels built by the Crossrail project beneath London with the existing rail network and allow people to travel from Reading and Heathrow right through the capital to Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood without changing trains.

Network Rail’s programme of early May bank holiday work included:

  • West of London, between Paddington and Reading:
    • Track remodelling work, electrification and signalling commissioning at Old Oak Common to create space for the new Elizabeth line tracks.
    • Track remodelling work, electrification and signalling commissioning at Southall and Hayes & Harlington to make way for new bigger stations and longer platforms.
    • At West Ealing and Slough, station works included platform extensions and canopy cutbacks to accommodate the overhead electrical lines needed for the Elizabeth line trains.
    • Construction of the new Heathrow flyover at Stockley junction also progressed with 25 huge concrete sections lifted into place that form part of a new ramp. The new flyover will allow more trains to run more reliably and doubles the capacity to and from Heathrow.
    • Electrification works between Stockley and Maidenhead to support new electric trains.
  • East of London on the Great Eastern Main Line section of the route, work continued apace in preparation for the new trains:
    • Significant electrification upgrade work continued at Shenfield.
    • Platform extension and bridge works were carried out at five stations (Goodmayes, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentwood and Shenfield) in order to accommodate the longer trains that will operate on the Elizabeth line and ensure the stations are step free.
    • The landmark new station at Abbey Wood is now taking shape with huge concrete beams lifted into place to form the base of the new two storey building. 600m of track was also renewed over the bank holiday weekend.

Matthew Steele, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail, said: “I would like to thank passengers and our lineside neighbours for their patience over the bank holiday whilst we carried out these major works. There is never a good time to close the railway but with far fewer people travelling over the long weekend, we had a good opportunity to deliver these vital improvements. With meticulous planning along with the hard work and dedication of our team and contractors, we have once again delivered a lot of complex work and taken a big step towards making the Elizabeth line a reality.”

Matthew White, Surface Director at Crossrail said: “The Crossrail project will provide a step change in public transport for many thousands of people in outer London, Berkshire and Essex. The programme of work delivered by Network Rail over the May bank holiday was a vital part of preparing the existing rail network for the arrival of the new Elizabeth line services.”

Key facts and figures

  • £14.5m programme of work
  • 21 different sites on the route across Berkshire, outer London and Essex
  • 54,000 hours worked by 1,800 people
  • 28 engineering trains used
  • 3 Kirow cranes used, 8 road cranes including 1 x 500 tonne crane at Stockley
  • Over 1.5km of track renewed or moved
  • 4 new sets of points installed
  • 6 platforms extended or upgraded to accommodate new, longer Elizabeth line trains

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