The Anonymous Widower

The Crossrail Site At Limmo Is Winding Down

From the Emirates Air-Line it looks like serious work s winding down at the Crossrail site at Limmo, where the tunnel boring machines; Elizabeth and Victoria, were inserted into a massive hole, to start their journeys to Farringdon via Canary Wharf.

The conveyors are still in place and a ship was there to be loaded with spoil to be taken to Wallasea Island.

Over the years it has been fascinating to see how how the work for Crossrail has started, increased and is now starting to finish, from the DLR and the cable car.

July 27, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Crossrail Portal At Royal Victoria From The Bridge

I was on the bridge at Royal Victoria DLR station this morning and took this picture of the works creating the Crossrail tunnel portal at Royal Victoria.

The Crossrail Portal At Royal Victoria From The Bridge

The Crossrail Portal At Royal Victoria From The Bridge

When completed the tunnels will go under where I took the picture to the next station, which is Canary Wharf. Custom House station and the crane used to put the pieces together is in the distance to the left of the electricity pylons.

According to the documentary on Crossrail, it was a tight squeeze at Tottenham Court Road, but this shows it’s as tight as a duck’s arse, virtually everywhere.

Rude words are allowed when talking about Crossrail, as one of the female project managers used the F-word in the documentary.

July 27, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Boring Television

It’s fascinating to read the heavyweight reviews on the BBC2 program, The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway, in the Independent and the Telegraph.

When did serious engineering programs get such coverage?

The Times has a report, if you’re a subscriber, but there’s nothing in the Guardian.

July 25, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway

I’ve just watched the latest episode of the BBC documentary on Crossrail call the Fifteen Billion Pound Railway.

Part of this episode told a history of tunneling through the last fifty years, through old film and the eyes of one of the tunnellers, who’s been digging for fifty years, starting with manual methods on the Victoria line.

It is fascinating to see how techniques have improved even over the last couple of decades.

Just as with North Sea Oil exploration, where projects got easier, as cranes got bigger, it looks like tunnelling will get easier, as tunnel boring machines get bigger, more powerful and better designed.

So when they build Crossrail 2 will it be a quick and more financially efficient project? Having spoken to some of the planners of the project on Friday at Dalston Library, I suspect it will be. Especially, as they are cutting out one of the Hackney stations to save a billion and moving one terminus from Alexandra Park to New Southgate stations.

The lessons learned on Crossrail will also effect HS2, where I suspect we’l see even more tunnels, in the final design.


July 24, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Custom House Station Is Starting To Look Like One

The new Crossrail station at Custom House is started to look like a station.

It is being built in the clean environment of a factory near Sheffield and the quality of the concrete shines through.

On a bus recently, I talked to a young lady, who is involved in the production of this station and she said we’ll be seeing a lot more of these factory-produced Lego-like buildings in the future.

July 22, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | 1 Comment

Places And Spaces At The Building Centre

I went to this exhibition this morning, which shows how the various stations on Crossrail will look.

It was certainly a good free exhibition and whetted my appetite for what is to come.

July 21, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

Is This A Case Of More With Less Electrification?

When asked in the House of Lords about the cost of extending Crossrail to Reading, Baroness Kramer, the Transport minister, said it would save £10million. It’s all reported here in New Civil Engineer. As it has been reported for some time Crossrail and the Great Western Main Line electrification will  share some infrastructure like transformers, I don’t think the cost saving is unexpected.

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

What Do The French Do For Commuter Trains?

The French equivalent to the Class 345 for Crossrail, also has a version built by Bombardier called the Z 50000 Francilien.

What probably shows more of this train is this excellent YouTube video.

Looking at the video and comparing the images with say travelling in a familiar Class 378 on the Overground, you notice several differences.

The biggest difference is that the French train is wider and taller in cross-section than the British train. This is due to the much more generous Continental loading gauge, which the designers of the train have used to their advantage.

Another big difference is getting into and out of the trains. On the Class 378 and probably the Class 345, it’s just a simple step across, but on the French train, an extra step emerges from the train and it’s a double step into the train. How would the French train cope with platform edge doors, like those that will be installed on Crossrail?  I ask this question as European safety legislation insists on these in all stations in tunnels.

July 10, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

The Trains For Crossrail And Thameslink

London’s two new cross-town railways; Crossrail and Thameslink will both be fully opened around the end of this decade.

So it would seem logical that the two lines might share the same trains.

But it is not as simple as that!

All sorts of factors like delaying of projects, the slightly different natures of the two lines and the  decision of Siemens, who won the contract for the Thameslink trains, to withdraw from Crossrail, because of a lack of capacity, mean that we now have two separate train fleets; Class 700 for Thameslink and Class 345 for Crossrail.

Although separate train fleets, it does look that the design philosophy of the two trains is very similar. Take this paragraph from the specification issued by Crossrail for their Class 345 trains.

Wide through gangways between carriages, and ample space in the passenger saloons and around the doors, will reduce passenger congestion while allowing room for those with heavy luggage or pushchairs.

From what I have read here on First Capital Connect’s web site, the Class 700 might be very similar.

So it would seem that four of London’s important new train fleets will be walk-through. In addition to the Class 345 and Class 700, the Overground’s Class 378 and the Underground’s S Stock are build to similar principles, although the latter two trains, probably expect more standing passengers.

One advantage of these trains is that they can be designed to line up with the platform edge, as the Class 378 generally do, which enables a simple step across the gap into or out of the train. At some stations, like Willesden Junction, on the Overground, the alignment is bad and you certainly notice the difference. So I will hope that the two new train classes line up with the platforms! As on Crossrail and Thameslink most stations will only be served by one type of train, I suspect that it could be possible.

In my view, if we are to have a step-free railway, then all station-train interfaces, should be a simple step across.

Another advantage of this type of train, is that you can walk inside the train to less-crowded areas or perhaps to your preferred door for exit at your destination. I do this regularly, when I take the short hop from Highbury and Islington to Dalston Junction stations on the Overground, as I get in at the front and get out at the back, due to the layout of the two stations.

This walk-through capability will be essential for Crossrail, where the trains and platforms will be 200 metres long. One of Crossrail’s engineers told me, that she felt some people might not like the trains because of their length and the long walks in stations. I don’t think regular users will mind so much, as they’ll develop a strategy that works for their journey. But will a tourist dragging a heavy case going from say Heathrow to Bond Street, be so happy after walking a long distance to get out the station.

The various proposals for new deep-level Underground trains seem to have through gangways like this proposal from Siemens.

So is a de facto standard for train design emerging, where trains have through gangways, flat floors and wide doors with no-gap step-across access?

I think it is and it will be to the benefit of all rail users, including the disabled and those pushing buggies or dragging heavy cases.

Looking at the pictures I took of Siemens Underground proposal, it seems the design fits such a standard!

A secondary advantage of this design is that it should tighten up stopping time at stations, thus making it easier for trains to keep to schedules.

July 9, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crossrail To Start Construction At Maidenhead

I think we’ll be seeing lots of little articles like this one from the Maidenhead Advertiser in the next few months. This is the guts of the report.

The first visible phase of building work to prepare Maidenhead Station for the arrival of Crossrail is set to begin.
Network Rail contractors are due to arrive at the site in Braywick Road on Saturday and will be a permanent fixture throughout the summer.
Changes to the station including lengthened platforms to make room for 10-car Crossrail trains, a new lift, enhanced station information facilities, security systems and CCTV equipment.

The article goes on to say that 10,000 people will be working on Crossrail  on 40 sites before the line opens in 2019.

It is a very large project.



July 3, 2014 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment


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