Crossrail’s Stratford Portal is where the surface section of the line to Shenfield enters the tunnel to go to Whitechapel and all the stations to the west. This is a Google Earth image of the works at the tunnel portal.
A ramp is being built to and from the Great Eastern Main Line to connect the Crossrail tracks to those of the main line. It is probably clearer to look at these pictures taken from Pudding Mill Lane station or a DLR train.
The station is certainly a good place to go to see the works going on here.
Liverpool Street, just outside the station of the same name, is home to a large archaeology project.
The pictures of the actual dig was taken from a publicly accessible walkway on the South side of the Street.
When I researched the ventilation shafts for Crossrail, I was surprised how few of them there are.
But there was one I missed that is not mentioned in the usual web sites and it was built in 2004.
How much disruption was avoided by incorporating the shaft in the building?
One advantage in the early firming up the route of Crossrail 2, is that if a building has to be rebuilt on the route, it can incorporate features so that it is ready for the line.
Those in the newer tunnel appear to be smaller and possibly lesser in number. Certainly after a redesigned Crossrail abandoned eight further shafts, which must have been a substantial saving.
Perhaps too, as Crossrail has stations in its tunnels under London, the number of shafts can be reduced.
If you look at the pictures of the five Channel Tunnel ventilation shafts, you will see a series of brutal brick towers more equivalent to Napoleonic War defence installations, than anything built in this century. None of those for Crossrail have yet been built, but they seem to be innovative structures that enhance rather than confront their environment. This page on the Fereday-Pollard web site shows a few concepts. I particularly like this visualisation of the concept for the ventilation shaft in Mile End Park.
This is another almost cheeky concept from this page on the Acanthus Architects web site.
I think it all points to Crossrail 2 being simpler still! But then with my experience of watching projects for many years, as each version of a series of similar projects gets implemented, the engineers and managers ratchet up the design quality, speed of construction and efficiency.
This post is being developed together with a related one of the ventilation shafts for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, to show the sort of buildings we can expect to be created to provide access to new rail tunnels under London and other cities.
As I travel around the city, I will be adding more pictures and when I think the details are complete, I’ll add a summary.
Crossrail goes from Stratford and Abbey Wood to Royal Oak across the city in twin tunnels.
The tunnels have to have ventilation and emergency access shafts and there are six of them for the Crossrail. The original plan for the tunnels required another eight shafts, but after a redesign they were removed, as is detailed in this note on the Crossrail web site. This is an extract from the note.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, today welcomed news that Crossrail has reached agreement with the London Fire Brigade (LFB) to remove eight of the proposed permanent access and ventilation shafts from the central tunnelled section of the new railway.
This decision will particularly benefit communities in east London where four of the permanent shafts were due to be located. The removal of the shafts means the elimination of construction works impacts, including lorry journeys, in these areas. In addition, a number of properties in Hanbury Street in east London will no longer need to be compulsorily purchased and demolished.
The eight shafts no longer required are located at: Westbourne Bridge W2, Hyde Park W2, Park Lane W1, Hanbury Street E1, Lowell Street E14, Hertsmere Road E14, Blackwall Way E14 and Warren Lane SE18.
These permanent access and ventilation shafts would typically be around 9 metres in diameter, with a structure on top the size of a one- or two-storey building.
Looking at that last statement, it would appear that the ventilation shafts for the Channel Tunnel were much larger. Is that progress or just that Channel Tunnel trains are lsrger and faster?
From East to West across London the ventilation shafts that are now being built are as follows.
1. Eleanor Street Ventilation Shaft
This shaft is located in a triangle of rail lines between Bow Road and Bromley-by-Bow District Line stations.
The shaft is in the point of the triangle at the eastern end and it shares the triangle with the Eleanor Street Gypsy and Travellers Site. This is another image to a larger scale.
It clearly shows the round shaft.
After construction, this part of the site has been redesigned as detailed in this page on the architect’s web site.
These are images I took of progress to date, some from a District Line train, passing by the site.
It is possibly the only Crossrail ventilation shaft that you can look into, when you see it from the train. Unfortunately, getting a clear image was diffucult, especially from a train with dirty windows.
2. Mile End Park Ventilation Shaft
This shaft is located in Mile End Park, just north of where the rail lines into Fenchurch Street cross Burdett Road. This is a Google Earth image of the site.
Note the shaft which is clearly visible in the middle of what looks to be a site fenced off from the rest of the park.
Google found this other image of a drawing of the layout at Mile End Park.
It is at a different angle, but I believe it confirms the black hole in the first image is the shaft.
This Google Earth image shows the shaft in more detail.
And this is a visualisation of what the shaft will look like when complete.
These are images I took of progress to date, together with several images of the park.
It looks like there will be a concrete retaining wall around the whole site. If you look at the map, visualisations and my actual pictures, I think it could be true to say, that when the ventilation shaft is complete, it will enhance rather than despoil the area. It is certainly orders of magnitude better than the Martello towers of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link
3. Stepney Green Ventilation Shaft
Stepney Green is much more than a ventilation and access shaft as thirty metres down is the junction, where the two eastern branches of Crossrail. join. This is a Google Earth image of the site and the Stepney City Farm, which shares the land.
I went there today and took these pictures.
As you can see, I also had a cup of tea in a genuine willow pattern cup and saucer, that must have been fifty years old at least.
To me, this project, where one of the largest holes ever dug in Europe has been created shows how with good thinking and project management skills even the largest and most difficult projects can be carried out, without upsetting the neighbours.
Every project manager in charge of a project that is a bit sensitive, should go to Stepney City Farm to see how projects should be performed.
4. Durward Street Ventilation Shaft
Tucked away between the Blind Beggar public house and Whitechapel’s Sainsburys supermarket is the Durward Street Ventilation Shaft. This Google Earth image shows the shaft.
Note how little space, there is in this area.
5. Blomfield Street Ventilation Shaft
This shaft is by Liverpool Street and is described on this page on the Crossrail web site. This lead paragraph describes its main functions.
At the Blomfield Street worksite we are constructing the Blomfield Box, a ventilation shaft for Liverpool Street Station; it is Crossrail’s deepest piled shaft. The shaft will house mechanical and electrical plant as well as service as an emergency escape route from the station.
The position of the shaft is shown in this Google Earth image.
The actual shaft is hidden by the buildings, but you should be able to read Blomfield Street. On the ground there is a gap in the buildings, where the shaft is being built.
I suspect that the shaft will be topped by a useful building in an appropriate style, as any land within the actual City is so valuable.
6.Fisher Street Ventilation Shaft
This shaft is just north of Holborn station and is shown on this Google Earth image.
Note the shaft in the top right of the image. There is not much to see on the ground yet.
The picture shows the site from Southampton Row.
According to Wikipedia, the New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons, and poetry.
This serious article from the magazine, which discusses the archaeology around the new rail line, is well worth a read.
In a few weeks time, the main entrance at Whitechapel station will be closed and all entry will be from Durward Street at the other end of the East London Line platforms. At present there is just an Emergency Exit there. These pictures show the current stairs and the half-assembled new ones.
It looks like the stairs will lead up to the walkway, which goes across the line.
I was behind Whitechapel station this morning and this steel beam was delivered.
This Google Earth image shows the small area in which the builders have to work.
The site is accessed down Durward Street, which is in shadow above the buildings.
To actually get the large artic down Durward Street, necessitated poking under the entrance to Sainsburys, which is to the right. I assume the truck was parked for the lift over the Overground line.
It was all a very professional delivery and unloading.
As the pictures of the delivery showed, the Whitechapel station site is extremely crowded. Luckily, the major occupier of the area, is a large Sainsburys supermarket, which seems to have been rebuilt, as I remember using it around the turn of the millennium and it was all massive surface car parks, which have now seemed to have gone. This Google Earth image shows the area from the supermarket to the Whitechapel Road.
The Sainsburys is large and it has a multi-story car park, which stretches across the picture.
Note the big hole to the South of the supermarket, which is thirty-two metres deep and is Crossrail’s Cambridge Heath shaft to provide emergency access and ventilation to the Crossrail tunnels. Read more about the shaft and the other works at Whitechapel station in this page on Crossrail’s web site. This is all you can see from outside the site.
I was standing in Cambridge Heath Road, which is the road on the right of the image, which goes past the site and Sainsburys.
All this site used to be the Mann, Crossman and Paulin brewery,of which the only remains are the ornamental gates and the Blind Beggar public house. The latter is marked on the map and is notorious for its association with gang violence of the 1960s.
I wonder what the customers of those days, would make of the area now!
I believe that Whitechapel station, will be Crossrail’s Jewel In The East and over the Easter weekend the East London Line was closed to allow Crossrail work. These pictures show the station after the weekend.
It does seem that more big structures are going up.
This Google Earth image shows the station.
The image was taken some time ago, but it does show the layout of the station.
Note the orange line determining how the East London Line passes through and how the Metropolitan and District Lines go either side of the works. When the station is completed, there will be one large platform between these lines, from which escalators will descend to the Crossrail platforms about thirty metres beneath.