Transport Minister Lord Ahmad has visited the Crossrail project to see the progress that has been made to install the permanent track in the new rail tunnels.
Over 10km of track has been laid so far for the new railway which will be known as the Elizabeth line when Transport for London-run services through central London commence in December 2018. The Transport Minister visited the new Custom House station site and the eastbound tunnel where he saw the recently laid track.
Transport Minister Lord Ahmad said:
“Crossrail is one of the most ambitious infrastructure programmes ever undertaken in the UK. The scale of engineering that will deliver the Elizabeth line is incredible and the laying of track is a significant milestone for this next phase of the project.
“Crossrail is also providing a huge boost to the UK’s construction skills base, having created more than 500 apprenticeships. I hope this project, and others benefiting from the government’s record investment in rail and road, will inspire more young people to consider a career in the infrastructure and transport industry.”
Simon Wright, Crossrail Programme Director, said:
“The Crossrail project will transform east-west rail travel across London with quicker journeys, increased capacity and improved frequency which will greatly enhance the capital’s connectivity. With the first 10km of our permanent tracks laid and railway systems installation underway, this highly complex fit-out phase brings us another step closer to transforming 42km of new tunnels and 10 new stations, into an operating railway.”
Installation of the permanent tracks is part of Crossrail’s railway systems works to fit out the new tunnels, stations and portals with the vital infrastructure ahead of TfL-run services commencing.
A dedicated team of over 1,200 highly skilled men and women are delivering this phase of the Crossrail project which includes the design, installation and testing of track, electrical systems, platform screen doors, signalling and communications along with cabling, lighting and power for the stations.
57km of long welded permanent rail have been manufactured by Tata Steel in Scunthorpe with around 7,000 sleepers manufactured by SBC Rail in Nottingham. Over 60% of Crossrail suppliers are based outside London and the South East.
The rails are delivered in 108 metre long sections and transported into the new tunnels by one of four Multi Purpose Gantries (MPGs) which have been specifically designed for the Crossrail project.
Each MPG travels along the raised curbs of the tunnel and carefully positions the sleepers at precise intervals before lifting and positioning the rails on top. Each section will be secured and welded ahead of the 465 metre long concreting train – a mobile concrete batching factory – concreting them in place. More than 34,000 m3 of concrete will be used to build the track as part of the fit-out the Crossrail tunnels.