Crossrail logo
Type Commuter rail, Suburban rail
System National Rail
Status Under Construction
Locale South East England
Greater London
East of England
Termini Maidenhead / Heathrow Terminal 4
Shenfield / Abbey Wood
Stations 39 (Planned)
Opened 2018/19 (Planned)
Owner Transport for London (core & Abbey Wood)
Network Rail (other branches)
Rolling stock

Class 345

(Proposed) 10 carriages per trainset
No. of tracks 2
Track gauge Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification 25 kV 50hz AC
Operating speed Below 100 mph (160 km/h)
[v · d · e]Crossrail 1
Protected route
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exBHF legende"
Reading National Rail
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exHST legende"
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "INTACCa"
Maidenhead National Rail
Underwater tunnel
River Thames
Stop on track
Stop on track
Unknown BSicon "INTACC"
Slough National Rail
Heathrow Terminal 4 Airport interchange London Underground
Unknown BSicon "tKINTACCa" Stop on track
Heathrow Central Airport interchange London Underground
Unknown BSicon "tINTACC" Stop on track
Exit tunnel Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
West Drayton
Unknown BSicon "BS2l" Unknown BSicon "BS2r"
Unknown BSicon "INTACC"
Hayes and Harlington National Rail
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Stop on track
Unknown BSicon "INTACC"
West Ealing National Rail
Unknown BSicon "INTACC"
Ealing Broadway London Underground
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Acton Main Line
Unknown BSicon "eINTACC"
Old Oak Common National Rail (proposed)
Enter tunnel
Unknown BSicon "tINTACC"
Paddington London Underground National Rail
Unknown BSicon "tINTACC"
Bond Street London Underground
Unknown BSicon "tINTACC"
Tottenham Court Road London Underground
Unknown BSicon "tINTACC"
Farringdon London Underground National Rail
Unknown BSicon "tINTACC"
Liverpool Street London Underground National Rail
Unknown BSicon "tINTACC"
Whitechapel London Overground National Rail London Underground
Unknown BSicon "tBS2rf" Unknown BSicon "tBS2lf"
Canary Wharf London Underground Docklands Light Railway
Unknown BSicon "tINTACC" Unknown BSicon "tSTR"
Exit tunnel Exit tunnel
Custom House Docklands Light Railway
Unknown BSicon "INTACC" Unknown BSicon "INTACC"
Stratford London Underground London Overground National Rail Docklands Light Railway National Rail
Royal Docks
Underwater tunnel Stop on track
River Thames
Underwater tunnel Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Forest Gate
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC" Stop on track
Manor Park
Abbey Wood National Rail
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "INTACCe"
Unknown BSicon "ACC"
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exHST legende"
Stop on track
Seven Kings
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exHST legende"
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Slade Green
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exHST legende"
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Chadwell Heath
Dartford National Rail
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exBHF legende"
Unknown BSicon "INTACC"
Romford National Rail
Stone Crossing
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exHST legende"
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Gidea Park
Greenhithe for Bluewater
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exHST legende"
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Harold Wood
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exHST legende"
Unknown BSicon "HSTACC"
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exHST legende"
Unknown BSicon "INTACCe"
Shenfield National Rail
Gravesend National Rail
Unknown BSicon "exLUECKE" + Unknown BSicon "exBHF legende"
Protected route to Hoo Junction
Unknown BSicon "exCONTf"

Crossrail is a project to build a major new railway link under central London. The name refers to the first of two routes which are the responsibility of Crossrail Ltd. (The second route is the proposed Chelsea–Hackney line.) It is based on an entirely new east-west tunnel with a central section from Paddington to Liverpool Street station. The project was approved in October 2007, and the Crossrail Act received Royal Assent in July 2008.

Services will complement the enhanced north-south Thameslink route. Ten-car trains will run at frequencies of up to 24 trains per hour (tph) in each direction through the central tunnel section.

The original planned schedule was that the first trains would run in 2017. In 2010 a Comprehensive Spending Review saving over £1 billion of the £15.9 billion projected costs meant that the first trains are now planned to run on the central section in 2018.[1]



Planning and financing

1948 Proposals

The concept of large-diameter railway tunnels crossing central London, able to connect main-line train services across the capital, has its post-war origin in the 1943 County of London Plan and 1944 Greater London Plan by Sir Patrick Abercrombie. These led to a specialist investigation by the Railway (London Plan) Committee, appointed in 1944 and reporting in 1946 and 1948.[2] Route A would have run from Loughborough Junction to Euston, replacing Blackfriars bridge and largely serving the same purpose as today's Thameslink Programme. Route F would have connected Lewisham with Kilburn via Fenchurch Street, Bank, Ludgate Circus, Trafalgar Square, Marble Arch and Marylebone. This was seen as a lower priority than Route A, though in the event only another proposal, Route C, was eventually built, as the Victoria line.

1974 Proposals

The term Crossrail emerged in the 1974 London Rail Study Report by a steering group set up by the Department of the Environment and Greater London Council to look at future transport needs and strategic plans for London and the South East.[3] The report contained several options for new lines and extensions, including the Fleet/River lines (later constructed as the Jubilee line) and the Chelsea-Hackney line. The Crossrail proposal envisaged two new lines connecting main-line rail services:[4]

Northern Tunnel, Western Region to Eastern Region

  • Paddington, from suburban services
  • Marble Arch
  • Bond Street/Oxford Circus
  • Leicester Square/Covent Garden (interchange)
  • Holborn/Ludgate (close to Paternoster Square)
  • Liverpool Street/Moorgate, to suburban services

Southern Tunnel, Southern Region through running

  • Victoria, from suburban services
  • Green Park/Piccadilly
  • Leicester Square/Covent Garden (interchange)
  • Ludgate/Blackfriars
  • Cannon Street/Monument
  • London Bridge, to suburban services

The 1974 Study estimated that 14,000 passengers would be carried in the peak hour between Paddington and Marble Arch, and 21,000 between Liverpool Street and Ludgate Circus, in the Northern tunnel, which would also carry freight services. Higher estimates were made for the Southern tunnel. It commented that Crossrail would be similar to the RER in Paris and the Hamburg S-Bahn. Reference was also made to through services to Heathrow Airport. Although the idea was seen as imaginative, only a brief estimate of cost was given: £300 million. A feasibility study was recommended as a high priority so that the practicability and costs of the scheme could be determined. It was also suggested that the alignment of the tunnels should be safeguarded while a final decision was taken.

1989 Proposals

The Central London Rail Study of 1989 proposed an East-West Crossrail (now 'Crossrail'), and in 1991 a Bill was submitted to Parliament for the scheme. The bill was rejected in 1994 due to the recession at the time.[5]

2001 Proposals

In 2001 Cross London Rail Links, a 50/50 joint venture company, was formed to develop and promote the scheme and also a Wimbledon-Hackney scheme. In 2003 and 2004, over 50 days of exhibitions were held to explain the proposals at over 30 different locations.[5]

2005 Crossrail Bill and subsequent approval

The Crossrail Bill 2005, a Hybrid Bill, went through Parliament. The Crossrail Bill Select Committee met between December 2005 and October 2007.[6] The Select Committee announced an interim decision in July 2006 which called on the Promoter to add a station at Woolwich. The Government initially responded that it would not do so as it would jeopardise the affordability of the whole scheme, but a subsequent agreement has made this possible.

In February 2008 the Bill moved to the House of Lords, where it was amended by a Committee of peers. The Act received Royal Assent on 22 July 2008 as the Crossrail Act 2008.[7] The Bill is accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement, plans and other related information.[8] The bill gives Cross London Rail Links the powers necessary to build the line. In November 2008, while announcing an agreement for a £230 million contribution from BAA, Transport Minister Lord Adonis confirmed that funding was still in place in spite of the global economic downturn.[9] On 4 December 2008 it was announced that Transport for London and the Department for Transport had signed the Crossrail Sponsors' Agreement. This commits them to financing the project, then projected to be £15.9 billion, alongside contributions from Network Rail, BAA and the City of London. The accompanying Crossrail Sponsors' Requirements commits them to the construction of the full scheme. 

The then Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, attended a ceremony at Canary Wharf on 15 May 2009 when construction of the project started.[10] On 7 September 2009, the project received £1 billion in funding. The money is being lent to Transport for London by the European Investment Bank.[11]

In the lead-up to the 2010 UK General Election, both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party made manifesto commitments to deliver the railway. The new Transport Secretary, appointed in May 2010, confirmed that the new coalition government was committed to the project.[12] The original planned schedule was that the first trains would run in 2017. In 2010 a Comprehensive Spending Review identified savings of over £1 billion in projected costs, achieved by a simpler tunnelling strategy to reduce the number of tunnel boring machines and access shafts required. The construction progress will therefore be slower, and the first trains are now planned to run on the central section in 2018.[13]


Construction of the Crossrail Portal at Royal Oak, seen from a footbridge to the west of Royal Oak tube station, July 2011

In April 2009, Crossrail announced that 17 firms had secured 'Enabling Works Framework Agreements' and would now be able to compete for packages of works.

Work on the route itself began on 15 May 2009 when piling works started at the future Canary Wharf station.[14]

The threat of diseases being released by work on the project was raised by Lord James of Blackheath at the passing of the Crossrail Bill. He told the House of Lords select committee that 682 victims of anthrax had been brought into Smithfield in Farringdon with some contaminated meat in 1520 and then buried in the area.[15] On 24 June 2009 it was reported that no traces of anthrax or bubonic plague had been found on human bone fragments discovered during tunnelling work.[16]

Invitations to tender for the two principal tunnelling contracts were published in the Official Journal of the European Union in August 2009. 'Tunnels West' was for twin 6.2 kilometres (3.9 mi)-long tunnels from Royal Oak through to the new Crossrail Farringdon Station, with a portal west of Paddington. The 'Tunnels East' request was for three tunnel sections and 'launch chambers' in east London.[17]

By September 2009, preparatory work for the £1 billion developments at Tottenham Court Road station had begun, with a number of buildings (including the Astoria Theatre) being compulsorily purchased and demolished.[18]

In March 2010, contracts were awarded to a number of civil engineering companies for the second round of 'enabling work' including 'Royal Oak Portal Taxi Facility Demolition', 'Demolition works for Crossrail Bond Street Station', 'Demolition works for Crossrail Tottenham Court Road Station' and 'Pudding Mill Lane Portal'.[19] In December 2010, contracts were awarded for most of the tunnelling work.[20]

At the peak of construction up to 14000 people will be needed - by the project's supply chain. [21].


The Crossrail line is based on a new set of east-west tunnels under central London connecting the Great Western Main Line near Paddington to the Great Eastern Main Line near Stratford. An eastern branch diverges at Whitechapel, running through Docklands and emerging at Custom House on a disused part of the North London Line, and then under the River Thames to Abbey Wood. Trains will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, taking over existing stopping services on those routes.

The tunnelled section will be about 22 kilometres (14 mi) in length. Tunnelling is expected to be difficult and expensive because of London's geology, and the extensive tunnels that already exist. The twin circular tunnels will have an internal diameter of 6 metres (20 ft),[22] compared with the 3.8 metres (12 ft) diameter of existing deep Tube lines.


Western section

A platform at Heathrow Central

The western section is to be built at surface level for the main route running from Maidenhead to Acton Main Line, with an underground spur to Heathrow Airport. The main route will include upgrading all the stations: Maidenhead, Taplow, Burnham, Slough, Langley, Iver, West Drayton, Hayes and Harlington, Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and Acton Main Line.

The Heathrow branch includes stations at Heathrow Terminal 4 and Heathrow Central and will join the main route at Airport Junction, between West Drayton and Hayes & Harlington.

The Crossrail route was protected as far as Reading but this is now almost irrelevant as electrification to Reading and beyond is now government policy and should be implemented by the time Crossrail is complete. If Crossrail were to be extended to Reading then both Twyford and Reading stations would be added to Crossrail.

Central section

The central tunnels run from a portal just west of London Paddington station to Whitechapel, with further tunnelling to Stratford and to Canary Wharf.

There will be new subterranean stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf, each offering interchange with the London Underground, National Rail and/or the Docklands Light Railway. Due to the size and positioning of new platforms required for these stations, some will be directly connected to multiple underground stations.

Eastern sections

Whitechapel to Shenfield

Stratford station will be a major interchange point for other rail services and the Olympic stadium

This section runs underground from Whitechapel as far as Stratford and then at surface level for the rest of the route on existing lines. It will include the following stations: Stratford, Maryland, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford, Seven Kings, Goodmayes, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentwood, and Shenfield.

Maryland was not included until 7 August 2006, when selective door opening was agreed so that the station would be accessible.[23]

Whitechapel to Abbey Wood

This section runs underground from Whitechapel to Canary Wharf and then at surface level as far as Abbey Wood. It will pass under the River Thames at North Woolwich and include a new station at Woolwich. It takes over the disused Custom House to North Woolwich via the Connaught tunnel stretch of the North London Line, built by the Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway, and connects it with the North Kent Line.

  • Canary Wharf (new station under construction) Formerly called 'Isle of Dogs'
  • Custom House (rebuild with additional facilities)
  • Silvertown (not expected to be built straight away, but a passive provision for a station at a later date)
  • Woolwich (new station under construction)
  • Abbey Wood for Thamesmead (additional platforms, existing tracks will need re-alignment)

The following stations are on the protected route extension to Gravesend as of October 2009: Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe for Bluewater, Swanscombe, Northfleet, and Gravesend.


On the central segment, between Paddington and Whitechapel, stations will be served by 24 trains per hour (tph) at peak times. To the east, this service splits into 12tph on the Abbey Wood branch and 12tph on the Shenfield branch (supplemented by 6tph national rail service along the Shenfield corridor into Liverpool Street). To the west, 14tph will terminate at Paddington. The remaining trains continue with 4tph branching off to Heathrow (supplemented by a further four Heathrow Express trains), 2tph continuing to West Drayton, and 4tph to Maidenhead.[24]

Section Morning peak
Crossrail service
Crossrail services
Other peak services Other Off-peak services
Central Section[24] 24tph unknown none none
Shenfield branch[24][25] 12tph 6tph To Liverpool Street mainline station;
6tph serving all stations except Ilford, Harold Wood, Brentwood and Shenfield
4tph serving only Shenfield
To Liverpool Street mainline station;
2tph serving Romford and Shenfield
3tph serving only Shenfield
Abbey Wood branch[24][26] 12tph unknown none none
Maidenhead and
Heathrow branches[24][27]
4ph to Maidenhead
4tph to Heathrow
2tph to West Drayton
2ph to Maidenhead
4tph to Heathrow
To Paddington mainline station;
4tph serving Maidenhead only
2tph serving Maidenhead, Slough, Hayes & Harlington and Ealing Broadway
To Paddington mainline station;
2tph serving Maidenhead, Slough, Hayes & Harlington and Ealing Broadway

However on the Maidenhead branch, between Paddington and West Drayton, not all stations will be equally served:[27]

  • Hayes & Harlington: 10tph peak, 6tph off-peak
  • Southall: 8tph peak, 6tph off-peak
  • Hanwell: 2tph peak, 2tph off-peak
  • West Ealing: 4tph peak, 4tph off-peak
  • Ealing Broadway: 10tph peak, 6tph off-peak
  • Acton Mainline: 4tph peak, 4tph off-peak

A full east-west service may not begin until 2019 due to signalling changes on the Great Western Main Line. The projected start-of-service dates are:[28]

  • Heathrow to Paddington (mainline platforms): May 2018
  • Paddington (Crossrail platforms) to Abbey Wood: December 2018
  • Paddington (Crossrail platforms) to Shenfield: May 2019
  • Full through service: December 2019

Although a 24tph service will be run from opening, the line has been built with redundant capacity to allow for growth. When required, 32tph could operate; combined with provision for two extra cars, this would allow a 30-40% capacity increase for future service increases.[29]


The signalling used on Crossrail will be a mixture of ETCS 2 (on the western branches from 2019), CBTC with ATO on the core and Abbey Wood branch (with a possible later upgrade to ETCS), and AWS with TPWS on the Great Western Main Line and Great Eastern Main Line.[28][30][31]


Rather than the fourth-rail electrification used by the London Underground or the third rail on the existing North Kent line, Crossrail will use 25 kV, 50 Hz AC overhead line, as already on the Great Eastern Main Line and on the Great Western Main Line as far as Heathrow. All new lines will be electrified at 25 kV AC 50 Hz, and overhead electrification will be installed between Heathrow Airport junction and Maidenhead.

Rolling stock

Crossrail trains will replace the Class 315 on 'Shenfield Metro' services

Crossrail has registered British Rail Class 345 for its trains.[32] The requirement is for 60 trains 200 m long carrying up to 1,500 passengers.[32] The trains will be disabled-accessible, including dedicated areas for wheelchairs, with audio and visual announcements, CCTV and speaker phones to the driver in case of emergency.[33] Crossrail has stated that the new trains will be based on existing designs to reduce the price by minimising costs associated with development.[34]

They are planned to have speeds up to 160 kilometres per hour (100 mph) on the surface parts of the route and up to 100 kilometres per hour (60 mph) in the tunnels.[35][dead link] The government's rolling stock plan expects that the stock for Crossrail will be similar to the new rolling stock planned for the Thameslink Programme and will displace other types of multiple unit currently used on the Great Eastern and Great Western routes for use elsewhere on the network.[36]

In March 2011, Crossrail announced that five bidders had been shortlisted to compete for the contract to build the Class 345 and its associated depot.[37]


Crossrail requires significant work on station infrastructure. Although initially the trains will be 200 metres long, platforms at the 10 new stations in the central core are being built to enable 240-metre-long trains to run in the future in case passenger numbers make this necessary. Similarly, at the existing stations on the route, platforms will be lengthened accordingly.[38]

Maryland and Manor Park will not have platform extensions, so they will use selective door opening instead.[39] For Maryland this is because of the prohibitive cost of extensions and the poor business case,[40] and for Manor Park it is due to a freight loop that would otherwise be cut off.[41]

A mock-up of the new stations has been built in Bedfordshire to ensure that their architectural integrity would last for a century.[38] It is planned to bring at least one mock-up to London for the public to try out the design and give feedback before final construction takes place.[42]

Of the 37 stations, 28 will have step-free access to both platforms; in particular, train doors will be level with the platforms at central stations and at Heathrow. The stations will be fully equipped with CCTV[33] and, due to the length of the platforms, train indicators will be above the platform-edge doors in central stations.[42]


Crossrail will have two depots for its 60 trains: one in west London at Old Oak Common and one in east London at Ilford.[43]


Crossrail ticketing is intended to be integrated with the other London transport systems, with Oyster Card Pay As You Go valid on the entire line. Travelcards will be valid within Greater London with the exception of the Heathrow branch, which will continue to be subject to special fares.[citation needed] Crossrail has often been compared to Paris's RER system due to the length of the central tunnel. Crossrail will be integrated with the London Underground and National Rail networks, and it is planned to include it on the standard London Underground Map.

Future plans

New Stations

Old Oak Common

The government's planned site for the Old Oak Common High Speed 2 / Crossrail interchange

As part of the former Labour government's plans for the High Speed 2 rail link from London to Birmingham, a new Crossrail-High Speed 2 interchange would be built at Old Oak Common (between Paddington and Acton Main Line stations). This would be built as part of High Speed 2 (which would start construction, under Labour's plans, in 2017), so would not be built in the first phase of Crossrail. It would provide interchange to other mainline and TfL lines. Despite their previous opposition to the idea, the succeeding Conservative-Liberal Democrat government adopted that proposal in the plans it put forward for public consultation. This means it is likely to go forward as part of High Speed 2, potentially giving Crossrail an interchange with High Speed 2, the Great Western Main Line (GWML), Central line and London Overground services running through the area.


The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is pushing for an additional Crossrail station in the north of the Borough, east of Old Oak Common, at Kensal[44] off Ladbroke Grove & Canal Way. A turn-back facility will have to be built not too far west of Paddington anyway, and siting the turn-back at Kensal, rather than next to Paddington itself, would provide a frequent service to the new station, helping to regenerate the area.[45][46][47] Mayor Boris Johnson stated that a station would be added if it met three tests: it must not delay construction of Crossrail; it must not compromise performance of Crossrail or any other railway; and it must not increase Crossrail's overall cost. In response, Kensington and Chelsea Council agreed to underwrite the projected £33 million cost of a Crossrail station, to the extent that section 106 payments from the promoters of property developments expected near the station do not reach this sum.[48] The Council also funded a consultancy study which concluded that in many scenarios a Kensal station would not compromise Crossrail performance. TfL is conducting a feasibility study on the station. The project is supported by local MPs, the residents of the Borough, National Grid, retailers Sainsbury's and Cath Kidston, and Jenny Jones (Green Party member of the London Assembly).[49] It is also supported by the adjoining London Borough of Brent.[50]


Crossrail takes over the old North London Line alignment east of Custom House. On the south side of the docks there used to be a station at Silvertown. The station will be demolished but there will be passive provision at a new site a short distance to the east. It could serve London City Airport (currently served only by London City Airport DLR station), and construction will be considered after local development. However, there is no provision for the station in the Crossrail Act and it will not be part of the inital construction. Instead it is assumed that the DLR is providing enough service to the areas served by the former North London Line stations at Silvertown and North Woolwich. Certainly the DLR service is more frequent than the former North London line service to North Woolwich.[51][52]


to Reading

The Great Western Electrification project, announced in July 2009, will complement the Crossrail project and provide electrification for the Great Western Main Line westwards from Maidenhead to Reading and beyond. The UK Government and Transport for London are now considering whether to extend Crossrail services from Maidenhead to Reading from the outset.[53]

Extending Crossrail to Reading looks more attractive now that the government has confirmed that the GWML will be electrified to Cardiff in Wales, and possibly beyond, as planned by the previous government.[54]. Furthermore this proposal is now recommended by Network Rail's own Route Utilisation Strategy.[55]

to Gravesend

The route to Gravesend has been safeguarded by the Department for Transport, although it was made clear that as at February 2008 there was no plan to extend Crossrail beyond the then-current scheme.[56]

to Milton Keynes

Network Rail's draft Rail Utilisation Strategy (RUS) released in December 2010 proposed diverting the slow lines of the West Coast Main Line (WCML) up to Milton Keynes away from Euston on to Crossrail via Old Oak Common to free up capacity at Euston for High Speed 2.[57] This would also provide a direct service from WCML stations to the West End, Canary Wharf and other key destinations, free up London Underground capacity at Euston, make better use of Crossrail's capacity west of Paddington, and improve access to Heathrow Airport from the North.

Heathrow Express

Network Rail's RUS also proposes integrating Heathrow Express into Crossrail to relieve the GWML and reduce the need for passengers to change at Paddington.[57]

New lines

Chelsea-Hackney (Crossrail 2)

Cross London Rail Links Ltd has inherited London Underground's aborted "Chelsea-Hackney Line" plans, sometimes also referred to as "Merton-Hackney". A route for this has been safeguarded since 1991, and a 2007 consultation to renew the safeguarding gives the following route:[58]

Currently this line is known as the Chelsea – Hackney line and will not be built until after Crossrail 1 and probably also High Speed 2, which itself will probably not begin construction until after Crossrail 1 is completed. It has yet to be decided whether it will be built to National Rail (like Crossrail) or London Underground standards; however, the route safeguarding provides for the former.

Crossrail 3

Crossrail 3, backed by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, would include a 4-kilometre underground section in new tunnels connecting Euston and Waterloo, connecting the West Coast Main Line corridor with a variety of services to the south.[59] However, Crossrail 3 is an unofficial proposal and not within the remit of Cross London Rail Links Ltd (and as a result, is not safeguarded as Crossrail 2 is).

Management and franchise

Crossrail will be built by Crossrail Limited, jointly owned by Transport for London and the Department for Transport until December 2008, when full ownership was transferred to TfL. Crossrail has a £15.9 billion funding package in place[60] for the construction of the line. Although the branch lines to the west and to Shenfield will still be owned by Network Rail, the tunnel will be owned and operated by TfL.[61]

Once built, it is intended that Crossrail be operated as a concession let by TfL London Rail, like London Overground.[62] It is planned to initially let the franchise for 7 years from 2014, taking over control of Shenfield metro services from National Express East Anglia and then the Maidenhead / Heathrow services from First Great Western in 2016.[63]

In anticipation of a April 2015 transfer of Shenfield to Liverpool Street services from the Greater Anglia franchise to the new Crossrail concession, the invitation to tender for the 2012-2013 Greater Anglian franchise requires the new rail operator to set up a separate "Crossrail Business Unit" for those services before the end of 2012. This separate unit would allow transfer of services to the new Crossrail Train Operating Concession (CTOC) operator during the next franchise, or if the 2012-2013 franchise implements the optional 1-year extension.[61] The scope of the franchise may include, in addition to the main Shenfield-Liverpool Street services, additional peak services terminating at Liverpool Street main line and the Romford to Upminster shuttle.[64]


The Tottenham Court Road construction site covering the area formerly occupied by numerous Soho nightclubs

Some East London politicians objected to the scheme, which they saw as an expensive west-to-east commuter service that will primarily benefit City and Docklands businesses and bring much disruption to East London.[65] As a result, the tunnelling strategy was changed to remove excavated material by barge from Leamouth rather than the originally proposed complex conveyor system in Mile End.

Some freight-train operators, including the former English, Welsh and Scottish Railway Ltd (EWS), opposed the current plan because, they claimed, it would use up much of the remaining rail capacity within the London area and not provide the necessary extra capacity on connecting lines. This would make it harder to route freight services from the southern ports to the north and would increase freight transit times.

There had been complaints from music fans, as the redevelopment of the area forced the closure of a number of historic music venues. The London Astoria,[66] the Astoria 2, The Metro, Sin nightclub and The Ghetto have been demolished to allow expansion of the ticket hall and congestion relief at Tottenham Court Road tube station in advance of the arrival of Crossrail.

There was considerable annoyance in Reading that Crossrail would terminate at Maidenhead, not Reading.[67] However, the promoters and the government had always stressed that there was nothing to prevent extension to Reading in future if it could be justified. In February 2008 it was announced that the route for an extension to Reading was being protected.[68] This has become more likely now that the government has announced that the Great Western Main Line will be electrified beyond Reading in any event.

In February 2010, Crossrail was accused of bullying residents whose property lay on the Crossrail route into selling for less than the market value.[69] A subsequent London Assembly report was highly critical of the insensitive way in which Crossrail had dealt with compulsory purchases and the lack of assistance given to the people and businesses affected.[70]

Earlier proposals

1974 proposal

A report by a committee chaired by David Barran in 1974 recommended, alongside the development of the Fleet Line to Fenchurch Street and the River Line project, two new deep-level railway lines, one linking Paddington and Liverpool Street, via Marble Arch and Ludgate Circus; and another linking London Bridge and Victoria. The cost of these two links, along with the re-opening of the Snow Hill tunnel to form Thameslink, was estimated at £300 million.[71]

1990s proposal

An east-west route was again proposed in the early 1990s.[72] A Bill was introduced into Parliament, promoted by London Underground and British Rail, and supported by the government, but was rejected by the Private Bill Committee in 1994.[73] This service even went as far as preparatory work on rolling stock, with concept drawings for what was planned to be Class 341 trains released. A number of alternative routes on the west side were considered, including regional services to Amersham and Watford in the north-west, and Reading in the west. All have now been dropped in favour of the core proposal.

Dropped routes

Various routes have been included in earlier drafts of the Crossrail scheme, but no longer feature. These include:

  • Paddington to Kingston upon Thames via Richmond, part of the "preferred route" published in 2003, but dropped in 2004 due to a combination of local opposition, uncertainty over the route, cost, and insufficient return on the envisaged investment. This would conceivably have run either overland or via a tunnel to the existing track through Gunnersbury and Kew (which would no longer be used by the District Line), and thence to Richmond and Kingston on existing mainline track.
  • A south-eastern route beyond Abbey Wood to Dartford and Northfleet, connecting with High Speed 1. This was rejected due to the need to share track with existing services, leading to potential performance difficulties. However, much of this route has been revived in the safeguarding directive for Abbey Wood-Gravesend.
  • A north-western route to Aylesbury, taking over Chiltern services. This originally used the Dudding Hill Line, and later involved a new tunnel. Other branches in this direction to High Wycombe and Watford Junction were also proposed. None of these made it past the 2003 route consultation.

Alternative proposed routes

Aylesbury branch

This branch would have taken over Metropolitan and Chiltern Railways lines from Baker Street and Marylebone to Aylesbury (including the Chesham branch). Crossrail would run via the Dudden Hill line or a tunnel to Neasden Junction, where it would run to Harrow using the fast main line. The fast lines north of Harrow would be exclusively used by Crossrail trains. A new station would have been built at Northwood to allow an interchange between Metropolitan and Crossrail lines. The Metropolitan line would have terminated at Rickmansworth instead of Amersham. A few remaining Chiltern services to Aylesbury would have been routed via High Wycombe and Princes Risborough.

Richmond branch

This would have taken over the District line from Turnham Green to Richmond, and then to Kingston in tunnel. However, opposition from residents and politicians in Richmond, the expected cost, and insufficient return on the envisaged investment caused this proposed route not to be pursued in the hybrid Bill.

Hounslow branch

Following the decision to halt progress on development on a Richmond branch, Hounslow Council had attempted to get a route from Paddington through to Hounslow using an existing railway route (so no tunnelling would have been required).

See also


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