London : London’s Crossrail, Europe’s biggest infrastructure project, is a rail system currently under construction, which will go across London, and reach Heathrow and Reading in the West and Essex in the East of England. When completed in 2018, ten new stations in central and southeast London will increase the capital’s rail capacity by 10 percent and bring an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London.
Categorized as an ambitious engineering project, the Crossrail expansion of London’s rail network is the largest civil engineering project in Europe.When it reaches to its completion, the majestic rail network will spread across 56 kilometers (35 miles) of new tunnels, stations and interchanges, which would connect the outer suburbs to the city center and Heathrow airport, nearly 40 meters (131 feet) below the city.
Crossrail is a huge feat of engineering with a budget of more than $20 billion. The project has accelerated and gained momentum with a deadline of finish around 2018. However, for those involved, the biggest challenge has come from working in a densely packed city such as London, which has been the industrial hub since many years. The Project is moving around buildings, sky scrapers, utilities corridors and hustle bustle of industrial structures which in itself, is a huge challenge for the timely completion of entire project in a phased manner.
The Farringdon station in central London has got the project identification of site referred as ‘the heart of the Crossrail.’ Out of the eight tunnel boring machines that have been moved in from various parts of the city network, maximum consolidation of such machines has taken place in and around Farringdon.
The massive infrastructure work had begun on this Crossrail project as early as six years ago, but the present team has accelerated work and continues to maintain a team which has been working 24 hours a day beneath the city. Since land level connected to the above-ground has a direct reference to the under-ground soil, therefore even a millimeter of movement in the soil could cause problems for buildings above the ground, which is making Engineers to compensate for this by pumping grout through pipes to stabilize buildings on the surface. The vast amounts of material removed to make way for the tunnels has been moved away to develop a 1,500-acre nature reserve in Essex.
As this ambitious project gains momentum, the hope of seeing a Crossrail network up and running by the calendar year 2018 has begun to move towards a reality.