Once construction of the Crossrail high speed rail network has been completed, Shenfield station in Essex will become a major transport interchange for mainline rail services and Crossrail. Passengers and commuters currently use Shenfield to take them into London and down to Southend on the coast, but once Crossrail is up and running, the service will also connect to Heathrow airport.
As things currently stand, Shenfield station is extremely busy during peak travel times and according to passenger figures, the number of travellers passing through Shenfield continues to rise each year. In light of the every increasing demand on rail services at Shenfield station, many regular passengers and commuters have expressed concern about the congestion and whether the station will be able to cope with a huge influx of passengers once Crossrail services go live at Shenfield station.
In order to accommodate Crossrail services at Shenfield station, Crossrail are planning to construct a new platform, upgrade the ticket gates and add a new bicycle rack for commuters. Planning is still very much in the early stages, but Crossrail have ruled out the possibility of adding any further subways to improve passenger flow. However, local commuters feel that these improvements will not be enough to address concerns about passenger congestion during rush hour travel times.
One suggestion has been to extend the existing subway beneath the station and add a second entrance and exit at the opposite side of the station as this would improve the flow of traffic. This would help to alleviate congestion on escalators and areas where large numbers of people get on and off the trains. Many commuters feel that adding these improvements in the early planning stages of Crossrail construction work would be less disruptive than making further improvements at a much later stage in the process.
Crossrail has launched an exciting new competition to find names for the six tunnel boring machines due to start work on the Crossrail tunnels beneath London this spring. Local people, and anyone else with an interest in the project, are invited to submit pairs of names for the giant tunnel boring machines.
You have until February to come up with some fun names. Once the Crossrail panel of judges has a selected a shortlist of entries, the results will be published and the public can cast their vote in which names they think are the most appropriate.
“This competition is a chance for Londoners and those living along the Crossrail route to suggest the names of the tunnel boring machines that will construct the major new rail tunnels under London. In years to come the winners of the competition will be able to travel on Crossrail and not only say they named the machines that built the tunnels but that they watched history unfold as tunnelling started,” says Andy Mitchell, Programme Director at Crossrail.
The most popular names will be announced in March and the winners will see their choice emblazoned on the sides of two of the 1,000 ton tunnel boring machines. The winners will also have a choice of Eurostar vouchers or an annual family pass to enjoy the delights of the Merlin Theme Parks. Winning entrants will also be invited to attend the launch of the first tunnel boring machines at the Royal Oak portal.
The first two Crossrail tunnel boring machines will be launched from Royal Oak early this spring and they should reach Farringdon before the end of summer next year. The second pair of Crossrail TBMs is due to be launched later on this year, from Docklands, and finally, the last pair will be launched from Plumstead this winter.
Work on the first of the Crossrail tunnels is scheduled to begin in March and preparation work on the momentous project is already well underway. The giant tunnel boring machines that will be used to dig out thousands of tonnes of earth from beneath the city of London have been constructed in Germany by Herrenknecht, and testing of the huge machines is now complete. The first of the TBMs is on its way to the UK, ready to be reassembled in time for tunnelling work in a few short weeks, and the next machines will soon be following suit.
Once tunnelling on the Crossrail project begins, teams of twenty operatives will be working night and day in rolling shifts to ensure the work is completed on time. It has been estimated that the TBMs will progress at a rate of one hundred metres per week, and by the time the Crossrail project has reached completion, a whopping six million tonnes of soil will have been excavated, most of which will be transported to Wallasea Island in Essex, where it will be put to good use in the construction of a new nature reserve.
As progress is made on the Crossrail tunnels, concrete reinforcement rings will be put in place to line each tunnel. These are being constructed at a factory in west London and each segment is so large that it takes a month to set hard. A further two factories will have to be built in order to accommodate the demand for concrete segments to line the Crossrail tunnels—a quarter of a million will be used by the end of the project.
Work on the Crossrail project appears to be relentless, but although plenty of people stand to benefit from the increased employment opportunities, some local business are not happy at having to make way for Crossrail construction work.