Monday, 3 November 2014

CROSSRAIL: The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway:Tunnels Under the Thames - BBC Documentary

A world-class new railway for London and the south-east
This episode follows engineers building London's brand new underground railway, Crossrail, as they take on a Great British obsession - building train tunnels under water.

Linda Miller, an engineer more at home building space launch complexes at Cape Canaveral, battles to rebuild a Victorian tunnel under the Royal Docks in London's east end. Meanwhile a British tunneling dynasty - the Bermingham family - follow in the footsteps of the original father-son team of Marc and Isambard Kingdom Brunel to build a brand new tunnel under the river Thames.

Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Stretching from Reading and Heathrow in the west, across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, the new railway will cover over 100km of track including 21km of new twin-bore rail tunnels and ten new stations. From improving journey times across London, to easing congestion and offering better connections, Crossrail will change the way people travel around the capital.
Crossrail will, for the first time, deliver a direct connection between all of London’s main employment centres; linking Heathrow with Paddington, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf. The new railway will reduce journey times, ease congestion and improve connections.
Up to 24 trains per hour will operate in the central section between Paddington and Whitechapel during peak periods, with each train able to carry 1,500 passengers. An estimated 200 million people will travel on Crossrail each year. Many of these people will be making the switch from road transport to an environmentally sustainable railway.
When Crossrail opens in 2018, it will increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent and dramatically cut journey times across the city.
Through new transport links and significant over-station developments being delivered, Crossrail will leave a legacy of economic sustainability. The new railway will support regeneration across the capital and add an estimated £42bn to the economy of the UK.
Crossrail already delivers social benefits across the UK with thousands of jobs and business opportunities for companies of all sizes.
As Europe’s biggest construction project, Crossrail is also creating thousands of jobs and training opportunities as well as business opportunities for companies of all sizes to supply services and materials.
Crossrail will make travelling in London and the South East easier and quicker, and help to reduce crowding on London’s transport network.


  • 30 existing Network Rail stations from Reading in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east will be connected to 21km of twin bore tunnels under central London 
  • New Crossrail stations will be built at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich and Abbey Wood.
  • The new stations will be on a scale not seen since the Jubilee Line Extension opened in 1999


  • New twin-bore tunnels measuring 21km in length will be built under central London with tunnelling starting in spring 2012
  • Over the coming year, Crossrail’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will be delivered after which digging of the tunnels under London will begin
  • The TBMs will weave their way between existing underground lines, sewers, utilities and building foundations at depths of up to 40 metres to create the tunnels required to deliver the new railway


  • Crossrail will deliver new train services and reduced journey times with up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during peak times
  • Each Crossrail train will be around 200 metres long and be able to accommodate up to 1,500 passengers
  • Around 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year


  • Crossrail will deliver substantial economic benefits in London, the South-East and across the UK
  • Over the past few years Crossrail has let some of the largest value contracts in recent UK construction history – providing a much needed boost to the UK construction industry as well as creating major employment opportunities
  • The estimated benefit of Crossrail to the UK economy is at least £42 billion

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