In the biggest single engineering operation ever mounted by Network Rail for the Crossrail project, major works were completed to the existing railway in outer London, Berkshire and Essex.
More than 4,000 workers were out on the railway over the ten-day Christmas period carrying out more than 330,000 hours of carefully planned work which will ultimately integrate the new tunnels beneath London with the existing rail network. This is vital as three quarters of the route – which will be known as the Elizabeth line from 2018 – will run above ground in outer London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex, bringing 1.5 million more people within 45 minutes of central London.
Many elements of Network Rail’s Christmas work are not only critical for the delivery of the Crossrail project but will also deliver immediate benefits for passengers. The upgrade work that was delivered includes:
- Opening the second ramp of the Stockley Flyover at Heathrow junction and a new diveunder at Acton. These major new structures have been built as part of the Crossrail project but will be used by GWR and Heathrow Express trains, adding capacity and improving reliability on this busy section of the Great Western Main Line.
- Opening the bay platform at Hayes & Harlington, which will allow GWR to bring in even more new electric trains, increasing frequency between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington to a half-hourly service.
- Upgrading and remodelling the track at Maidenhead. This included the installation of 11 new sets of points and continued work to electrify the railway between Maidenhead and Heathrow junction that will allow for the introduction of new electric trains.
- Platform extensions at a number of locations including West Ealing, Southall and Hayes & Harlington stations in order to accommodate the longer GWR and Elizabeth line trains.
- Major improvements to the railway in Essex, to pave the way for the introduction of new, quieter, more reliable electric trains for TfL Rail passengers from 2017. These improvements include major remodelling of the track and sidings at both ends of Shenfield station and building a new platform for future Elizabeth line services.