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Elizabeth line on the right track

London's newest railway has reached a major milestone with all the rail sections now in place.

The last piece of track was connected at Whitechapel station, bringing the introduction of the Elizabeth line a significant step closer.

It means construction trains are now able to travel the full length of London's new tunnels, from Plumstead in the east to Royal Oak Portal in the west. The route passes through ten newly-built station platforms.

More than 1,000 highly skilled workers were involved in this part of the £14.8bn project. Together they installed 63,000 sleepers and 51,419 metres of rail to make up the new 50km of track. More than 13,500m3 of concrete were also used - enough to fill several Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: 'With brand new trains and step-free stations, the Elizabeth line will provide a truly world-class service for passengers, and this important landmark is testament to the hard work and expertise of all the men and women who have been working on the project.

'Alongside progressing plans for Crossrail 2, the completion of the Elizabeth line will be vital for helping us deal with London's growing population, it will boost jobs across the UK, and improve the quality of life for millions of people living and working in the region.'

TfL's Elizabeth line Operations Director, Howard Smith, said: 'It's a huge moment in the project, turning it from a construction project into a railway, with around 15 months until our customers ride the first trains beneath the streets of London.'

With just over a year to go until the Elizabeth line opens, the project is now focused on installing platform screen doors, signalling, tunnel ventilation and communications systems, along with the overhead lines that will power the new trains.

The Capital's new line will be around 50km long and serve 41 stations, from Reading and Heathrow in the west, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Getting from top to bottom

Canary Wharf, a key station on the new Elizabeth line, now has 17 custom-built escalators to cope with the increasing passenger numbers expected once services begin.

The framework for a further 37 escalators have also been completed at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon and Liverpool Street stations. Together, they make up around one mile of escalators.

In total, 81 escalators will be installed at nine new Elizabeth line stations between Paddington and Woolwich and 54 new lifts. All 41 stations on the route will have step-free access.

The longest escalator on the line will be at Bond Street - a 60 metre-long escalator that will carry passengers from Hanover Square, near Oxford Street, to the Elizabeth platform, 25.7 metres below.

The shortest escalator, at 18.5 metres, will be at Liverpool Street, taking passengers from street level down to the Broadgate ticket hall.


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