Cross Rail Central London

After 35 years of planning and development, Crossrail finally broke ground on 15 May 2009 at Canary Wharf, when the Mayor and the then Transport Secretary Lord Adonis launched the first pile into the North Dock in Docklands at the site of the new Canary Wharf station.

Crossrail has seen some further changes since then. In 2010, the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review confirmed savings of over £1bn in projected costs due chiefly to a revision of the tunnelling strategy. This meant that Crossrail services would now commence through the central section in 2018 rather than 2017, followed by a phased introduction of services across the rest of the route, but it also allowed the funding envelope needed to deliver Crossrail to be revised to £14.8bn from £15.9bn.

Nearly forty-years after the Crossrail scheme was proposed, tunnelling began on the project when Phyllis, the first of Crossrail’s eight tunnel boring machines, set out on her journey from Royal Oak Portal towards Farringdon.

In doing so they follow a route that the men and women who put together the East West Study, the 1989 Central London Rail Study, the 1974 London Rail Study, the Abercrombie Plan and even the nineteenth century Regents Canal & Dock Railway plans would all have recognised. As they carved through the clay beneath the Capital, Crossrail’s tunnel boring machines carried with them a rich history but also hold a great deal of promise, heralding the benefits to both passengers and businesses that will begin with the opening of Crossrail’s central section in 2018.

Crossrail’s tunnelling marathon under London is now complete. Crossrail tunnelling began in May 2012 and ended at Farringdon with the arrival of tunnelling machine Victoria.

The history of Crossrail does not end here. It has only just begun.

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