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For the similar scheme in Glasgow, see Glasgow Crossrail

Crossrail is a project to build a new east-west railway connection under central London, with one connection to the west and two to the east. It would be built to regional rail standards and connect to existing main lines. The most optimistic construction timetable would see the first stage opened around 2015.

Trains would run at metro-style high frequencies, complementing the existing north-south Thameslink route. Crossrail ticketing is intended to be integrated with the other London transport systems, with Travelcards being valid within Greater London. Crossrail has often been compared to Paris's RER system due to the length of the central tunnel, although its scope is rather more limited.


[edit] Crossrail Line 1

This map does not show a station at Woolwich, which was called for by the Select Committee but rejected by the government.

According to the Bill (see Current status below) the following is a brief summary of the proposal:

  • The preamble to the Bill states that it is for ‘The provision of a new cross-London rail link ... by way of new railways and improvement of existing railways in existing railway corridors from Maidenhead, Berkshire, and Heathrow to Paddington continuing in new twin tunnels under central London and diverging as two branches, one surfacing at Custom House, London then passing under the River Thames at Woolwich in twin tunnels and then continuing on new tracks alongside the existing North Kent Line to Abbey Wood. The other branch would surface at Pudding Mill Lane near Stratford and continue on the existing corridor to Shenfield
  • New stations would be built:

There are campaigns to have new stations built at Woolwich, Royal Docks and extensions of the line to Reading and Ebbsfleet. The House of Commons Select Committee made an announcement of interim decisions in July 2006 which called on the Promoter to add a station at Woolwich but the Government has recently responded that it will not do so as that would jeopardise the affordability of the whole scheme.

[edit] Technical details

The tunnelled section of the line will be about 16 km (10 miles) in length: a difficult and expensive piece of engineering, because of two factors: London’s geology and the extensive tunnelling that already exists in central London. Its twin circular tunnels will have an internal diameter of 6 m (19.7 ft), compared with the 3.8 m (12.5 ft) diameter of existing deep Tube lines. Rather than the third rail electrification used by the London Underground or the existing North Kent line, Crossrail will use overhead 25 kV AC power delivered by catenary in the open air and a fixed bar contact system in the tunnels, the same system as is present on the Great Eastern Main Line and the Great Western Main Line (only as far as Heathrow).

[edit] Extensions

Over the period of the preliminary discussions, two extensions have been mooted:

  • A route from Paddington to Kingston upon Thames via Richmond upon Thames was examined but subsequently dropped, due to a combination of local opposition, uncertainty over the route, cost and an insufficient return on the envisaged investment. This would conceivably have run either overland or via a tunnel to the existing track through Gunnersbury and Kew (which would no longer be used by the District Line), and thence to Richmond and Kingston on existing mainline track.
  • A south-eastern extension to Dartford and Northfleet, connecting with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. This is not planned before 2020, if ever.

[edit] Previous proposal

This east–west route was previously proposed in the early 1990s but was rejected by Parliament in 1994. A number of alternative routes on the west side were considered, including regional services to Amersham and Watford in the north-west, Reading in the west. All have now been dropped in favour of the core proposal.

[edit] Current status

Crossrail Line 1 has been backed by the Government, which has introduced a hybrid bill for the scheme: the full text may be found here. The Bill is accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement, plans and other related information; it is likely to be completed some time in 2007. If Parliament approves the Bill, construction will take from 2008 to 2015 [1].

Although Crossrail has long had support from most of London's politicians and business community, it has been held up for a long time due to wrangling over finance. It is currently proposed that the £16 billion cost of the scheme will be met through a combination of public and (mostly) private finance, with London businesses contributing much of the funding.

Some East London politicians object to the scheme which they see as an expensive west to east commuter service that will primarily benefit City and Docklands businesses, and bring enormous disruption to East London [2]. Some train operating companies including EWS are opposed to the current plans because they would use up much of the remaining rail capacity within the London area, and do not provide the necessary extra capacity on connecting lines. This will make it harder to route freight services from the southern ports to the north and increase freight transit times.

The western branch would take exclusive use of the Great Western Slow lines, forcing all other services to share the current fast lines. The mix of high speed and slower semifast services will lead to increased journey times for destinations west of Maidenhead and potential delays due to congestion.

To give legal authorisation to Crossrail, a Hybrid Bill is being sent through Parliament. This Bill will be debated and amended by a Select Committee, the membership of which was named on December 5, 2005. The members will be Katy Clark, Kelvin Hopkins, Sian James, Alan Meale, Linda Riordan and Sir Peter Soulsby (Labour); Brian Binley, Philip Hollobone and Ian Liddell-Grainger (Conservative) and John Pugh (Liberal Democrat).

[edit] Crossrail Lines 2 and 3

Crossrail line 2 would include a new tunnel from Victoria station to King's Cross railway station via Tottenham Court Road. This route was previously safeguarded for the proposed tube-gauge "Chelsea-Hackney Line" (later renamed "Merton-Hackney" route) and might take over the Central Line east of Leytonstone.

A very preliminary route of line 2 showed stops at Clapham Junction, Victoria, Tottenham Court Road (for interchange with line 1), King's Cross and Dalston [3]. Other stations may be located at Piccadilly Circus, Hampton Court, Hackney, Stratford, King's Road or Imperial Wharf and Stansted Airport [4].

Many details of Line 2, including the route, stations and especially the finance, are as yet unclear. It is envisaged that it could begin operating by 2016, although this looks somewhat optimistic given the difficulties already encountered with Line 1.

Crossrail line 3 is still a very vague plan, but would be a tunnel running from Waterloo to Euston station, two major London termini. It would allow through-services from north to south. What route it would follow through central London and what stations would be built is still unclear.

[edit] Management aspects

Cross London Rail Links Ltd is the company responsible for creating Crossrail. It is publicly owned as a joint venture of Transport for London and the Department for Transport, and has £154 million of public funding, but the structure for funding the lines themselves (on the order of £10 billion) has not been finalised. It is hoped that services will begin on line 1 by 2012 and on line 2 in around 2016.

Part of the large expense is due to incorporate a high (and extremely expensive) quality of architecture as specified previously on the Jubilee Line Extension. In addition, costs are added to by a reluctance to re-use either the Farringdon to Moorgate section of Thameslink [citation needed] or the disused Moorgate to Liverpool Street mainline station link [citation needed], thus requiring tunnelling costs for the same route.

This is in addition to the extra infrastructure that sub-surface stations require such as escalators at each end of the platform leading to separate exits (because they are so far apart, due to the added distance caused by the escalators, and long trains to reduce congestion), new station buildings to cope with these escalators and full wheelchair access at all new stations with probable enhancements to other lines using the station.

The project might also require demolition of some listed buildings located at the likely station entrance locations.

Journalists covering the construction often comment that had it been designed to the same standards as the Victoria Line, it would not only be built and operational already, but would have cost no more than the public funding it already has. [citation needed].

[edit] Stations

[edit] West of Paddington

[edit] Maidenhead Branch

[edit] Heathrow Branch

The Maidenhead and Heathrow branches join up at Airport Junction, between the stations of West Drayton & Hayes and Harlington.

[edit] Central section (tunnelled)

[edit] East of Whitechapel

[edit] Romford Branch

[edit] Abbey Wood Branch

[edit] Other proposed stations

[edit] Richmond Branch

This branch would have taken over District line services from Turnham Green to Richmond, and then beyond onto the railway station of Kingston via a tunnel. However, opposition from residents and politicians in Richmond caused this proposed route to be axed.

[edit] Hounslow Branch

Following the decision to halt progress on development on a Richmond branch, Hounslow council have attempted to get a route from Paddington through to Hounslow using an existing railway route (so no tunneling is required).

[edit] Woolwich

There was demand for a station, located in Woolwich, to be added to the bill, but the cost for this new station to be built would have been too great, and so, was rejected by the government. The station would have been situated between two stations that are currently on the bill on the Abbey Wood branch: Custom House and Abbey Wood.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links


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