Transport for London
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Crossrail breaks through

The Crossrail project has celebrated its biggest milestone so far as the titanic tunnelling machine Elizabeth broke through into the shell of the new Canary Wharf station.

Over the past six months, sister machines Elizabeth and Victoria have been working around the clock to create the first section of new tunnels beneath the River Lea, between east London and Farringdon.

When Crossrail opens in 2018 the route will pass through 37 stations from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

As work on Europe's largest infrastructure project continues, we look at the numbers involved in transforming the Capital's transport system:

  • Crossrail will increase rail capacity by at least 10 per cent
  • There will be 24 trains per hour through central London in each direction during peak hours
  • Around 200 million passengers will travel on the line each year
  • Excavated material from the newly-bored tunnels under London and the South East will be used to create a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex
  • 85 per cent of excavated material is transported by rail or water
  • Over the life of the project, Crossrail and its supply chain is estimated to support the equivalent of 55,000 jobs
  • 42km of rail tunnels are being constructed between Royal Oak in the west, Pudding Mill Lane in the east and Plumstead in the south-east
  • Around 95 per cent of the budget to date will be spent in the UK
  • Eight, giant boring machines will be used to construct tunnels under the Capital - six machines are currently tunneling below London
  • The trains will carry 1,500 people each - nearly twice as many as the average Tube train
  • Crossrail will bring an additional 1.5 million people within a 45-minute commute of London's main business and entertainment districts
  • It will connect with 41 other rail lines including the Underground, London Overground, National Rail, Heathrow Express and Docklands Light Railway

For more information and to find out what happens next, go online to

Have your say on Crossrail 2 route

A consultation on the proposed Crossrail 2 routes is now under way.

The high-frequency, highcapacity line would run between southwest and northeast London.

It would shorten journey times, help relieve congestion on the busy transport network and provide a catalyst for new jobs and homes.

The route for Crossrail 2, previously known as the 'Chelsea- Hackney' line, has been kept free from major building development since 1991.

This route has been reviewed and two alternatives have been proposed which would bettermeet the rail needs of the Capital in the future - a 'metro' and a 'regional' option:

  • Metro - would provide a high-frequency underground railway through central London and between Wimbledon and Alexandra Palace, relieving congestion on the Piccadilly and Victoria lines
  • Regional - would benefit people as far as Hertfordshire and Surrey and enable more trains to run on busy National Rail routes. It could combine underground and overground railways, and would run from Alexandra Palace and stations in Hertfordshire to various locations in South-West London and Surrey

The consultation will run until 2 August.

A report on the findings will be available later this year.

For more information, and to have your say, go to