Balfour Beatty has laid the first ever section of track for dedicated use by Crossrail trains on the 62-mile length of Europe’s largest infrastructure project which will carry millions of passengers when the new route under London opens in 2018.
Prior to that opening, the tracks will be used to support the fit-out of the new tunnels being created beneath the streets of London.
Balfour Beatty has removed 20,000 tonnes of earth, imported 10,000 tonnes of ballast, drove in over 1000 piles and protected a one-hundred year old brick arch culvert, while working sensitively to minimise noise and disruption to neighbours.
Jeremy Lunn, Balfour Beatty Project Director, said: “I am incredibly proud of the Balfour Beatty team in laying the first ever Crossrail tracks. This is a culmination of a lot of hard work and determination by our Civils and Rail Systems teams who have overcome a number of complex technical challenges and delivered an impressive operation next to a live line. We now move in to deliver the next stages of the project eastwards towards Abbey Wood Station.”
Matthew Steele, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail, said: “Completing this section of track on time is important because it means that Crossrail can get on with the job of fitting out the new tunnels. Once fully open in 2018, the new tracks will link Abbey Wood to the rest of London like never before, providing local people with a dramatically improved rail service.”
Balfour Beatty is laying the new track as part of its £132 million Crossrail South East Section contract due to complete in 2018.
Crossrail represents the single biggest addition to the local rail network since the North Kent line was built in 1849. From 2018, a train every five minutes during the peak will allow residents to travel right through the capital without having to change trains. The journey from Abbey Wood to Canary Wharf and Bond Street will be around 20 minutes quicker and passengers travelling to Heathrow will be able to cut around 40 minutes off their journey.
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