SAM 6040fi 800x425 - Crossrail - six months to go!

Crossrail – six months to go!

A post looking at Crossrail six months ahead of its opening on 9th December 2018. Though the 18th has also been given as an opening date recent tweets appear to confirm its the 9th. That date has always seemed more likely one as it falls on a Sunday, which means a sort of test day before the real pressure begins on Monday 10th December.

This post covers ALL the stations in brief (and some bits in between) on the central core section between Paddington and Woolwich with photos and videos.

Farringdon to Woolwich was covered yesterday (8 June.) Bond Street and Paddington today (9 June.) I did Tottenham Court Road two days ago (7 June.)

This is the first time I have looked at Whitechapel (in terms of Crossrail) although I’ve passed through a number of times on the District/Overground. As for Abbey Wood quite a few others have covered this station on their blogs and YouTube channels.

The post is done in the actual order of stations visited. That means Tottenham Court Road, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich, Whitechapel, Liverpool Street/Moorgate, Farringdon, Bond Street and Paddington.

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Damn these grubby worksite perspex windows! At least the new brickwork and two workmen can be seen

Tottenham Court Road – its progressing fairly well especially with regards to the station frontage although its difficult to see through those grubby perspex windows and get good photographs. The Elizabeth Line roundel here has been up for months, it was placed at the same time as that at Custom House, likewise it has been covered up too until December!

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A better view (sort of) from Dean Street showing Tottenham Court Road’s west side new brickwork

The most recent changes here on the west side appear to be the station’s frontage. The decorative brickwork is now complete and I would think the next step is the frames for the windows, doors, etc. In comparison to Bond Street I understand more has been done with the station’s interior here although those grubby perspex windows don’t give one enough clarity to be able to see for sure.

Canary Wharf – As most will know, the station is practically finished (apart from perhaps minor stuff.) The only recent change I can see, not directly related to Crossrail, is the works that have begun to link the upper bridge leading north from Crossrail Place. This will eventually form part of a high level walkway to Poplar DLR station and shall ensure its far quicker to change to Crossrail at Poplar rather than taking the DLR to or from Canary Wharf. There is currently a walking route at ground level however its temporary and alters as construction work proceeds.

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The bi level bridges at Canary Wharf station. The upper level will eventually lead to Poplar station

Custom House – A fair bit since my last visit a few weeks ago. Although the station is largely finished and ‘Elizabeth Line’ platform signs and route maps have been visible here for several months, the most recent work involves extending the upper level area over the top of the DLR station. There’s been a raft over the DLR platforms for quite some time however one can now visibly see the new upper concourses taking shape. These aren’t directly related to Crossrail but what they will do is facilitate the exits from the DLR platforms. There is a direct link from the eastern end of the DLR platforms to the Crossrail station. This is still under wraps and probably wont be uncovered for some time, perhaps even the beginning of December 2018.

There are claims the Crossrail part of Custom House station is somewhat lacking in terms of disability access. However I can’t compare the detailed report I have with whats on the ground until the station actually opens.

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The new upper concourse above the DLR platforms at Custom House

Connaught Tunnel – Work still going on here. The new pump house is finished, the photo below taken from the 473 bus going over the bridge. There are still quite a few workers hereabouts and at the Crossrail worksites at Prince Regent/Silvertown/North Woolwich so I assume activity will be seen at these sites for some time yet.

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The new Connaught pump house with far greater capacity than the old one

Here’s another picture taken yesterday from the same 473 bus. This shows how high the Berlin Wall is in Albert Road, North Woolwich (I wrote about this wall the other day.) The highest bit was 12′ 8″and one can see its almost level with the small upper frames of the bus windows!

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That Berlin Wall – nearly 13 feet high!

North Woolwich – Contractors still working on the area between the Thames tunnel portal and the ventilation buildings. Landscaping is due to take place and there will be a sort of recreational area with trees and seating. Crossrail’s website doesn’t show anything of what is being done here however substantial plans can be found under Newham’s.

As most will know, Crossrail dips below the Thames on its way to Woolwich station. The new route will be one of four different crossings at this point – a record for London! Three of these are tunnels underneath the Thames and the fourth is of course the classic Woolwich ferry. This is without a doubt the best and nicest way to travel accros the Thames.

The next few bits of this post is actually about the Woolwich ferry – since I cant feature the Crossrail tunnels underneath the Thames. Like most of the UK population I too am banned from seeing this stupendous construction at first hand, LOL!

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MV James Newman leaving the Woolwich terminal. Part of the Crossrail oversite can be seen

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Jumbocruiser’s JU07 Bus spotted on the ferry yesterday!

In my opinion travelling on an Elizabeth Line train isnt going to be that exciting. One will be unable to see anything outside of it through most of this East London bit, and absolutely nothing  of the river itself. The ONLY time the Elizabeth Line’s trains will really see the Thames is at Maidenhead and Reading. Anyhow the old order is definitely much preferred – a 473 or 474 bus to North Woolwich and then the ferry. Crossrail has a huge time advantage but that’s all. It cant compare with the ferry which has splendid views up and down the river including towards Canary Wharf and Central London.


Bonus video – Woolwich ferry 8th June 2018

The above video is another of my amateur, bog-standard 1LondonBlog productions. Yes its somewhat jerky to start with, its also raw, unedited, absolutely no gee whiz stuff whatever. Just enjoy this video as it is please!

Woolwich – they said the historic frontage around the station sides commemorating the Royal Arsenal would be in place during June. No sign of that yet! Hopefully it will be up soon as the Arsenal has a big anniversary this July. Missing that anniversary would be a crime!

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MV James Newman with Canary Wharf and the Thames Barrier in the background

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Staff from the Woolwich construction sites having a jovial time with me as I try to take pictures on the quayside!

Since my last report on Woolwich station, the framework for the station’s fascia has been installed though its not completed yet. There’s concern this station, one of only two stand alone examples on Crossrail (that means no direct interchange of any sort, the other being Canary Wharf) is quite behind and wont be open by December. The matter has been raised by locals with Woolwich’s MP and Councillors.

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The station entrance at Woolwich 8 June 2018. Note the framework for the fascia

Whitechapel – I’m new here in terms of Crossrail, so wasn’t really sure of my bearings. One thing I did notice was the pair of staircases built by the Metropolitan many decades ago to access the East London Line still exist! Its very surprising considering London Overground has been in operation more than ten years! I think somehow 2018 will be the last year these old Met ELL stairs get to be used.

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The handrails and supports are evidence the old ELL staircases have not yet been rebuilt

The ELL platforms are now of course covered over because the above site consists of the concourse and access to the new Crossrail station. Currently the works mean the ELL station is quite closed in, and little can be seen of the new concourse. I have pictures of the ELL platforms but these do not do justice to how the station will ultimately look. As we progress towards December 2018 and the actual structure is revealed, the ELL platforms will turn out to be quite bright, airy, and very impressive.

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The Whitechapel concourse with the ELL platforms below. Source: Crossrail

The new concourse is actually suspended above the East London tracks and the arrangement will allow light to come through the new concourse and onto the ELL platforms. The images shown here demonstrate how Whitechapel will get to be the most unusual station on the entire Crossrail line.

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Whitechapel ELL platforms with the new concourse suspended above. Source: Crossrail

I like the look of the views depicted of the ELL platforms and the unusual way in which these will be illuminated with natural light. There’s definitely going to be a wow factor here! The use of the existing space above the ELL platforms has in many ways enabled this unusual approach to be employed. Its going to attract a lot of admirers who will want to come and see the new concourse.

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Whitehchapel Crossrail/Lizzy Line will clearly use numbers instead of A, B, for its platforms

I found the platform numbers given in the station entrance of interest. Generally Crossrail will use the alphabet for its platforms (eg platform A, platform B) such as at Custom House, Farringdon, Woolwich etc. Yet here at Whitechapel the platforms are going to be numbered as 3 and 4. The ELL/LO platforms have always been 5 and 6, and the two spare platform numbers came from the fact Whitechapel once had four platforms for the District and Hammersmith lines. (Note: See comments below.)

Liverpool Street/Moorgate – Not much change apparently. The biggest of course are on the existing platforms and concourses at Moorgate, with new tiling and Elizabeth Line signs now in place. The new lift which will give access from the ticket office area in Moorgate to the Circle, Hammersmith, Met lines, seems a bit behind. There’s an awful lot of work still to be done on this lift and I wonder if its going to be ready by December.

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The main entrance to the Broadgate side of the Liverpool Street Crossrail station

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A peep through the gateway at the Finsbury Circus worksite

Both Liverpool Street and Farringdon Crossrail stations are unique in they will connect two stations, hence the oversite works are spread across a large area. Liverpool Street’s the bigger of the two, and from what one can see of the entrance at Moorgate, they’re going for it in really big ways here. Moorgate is an extremely busy station given its proximity to the City and the station is certain to be Crossrail’s busiest.

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Entrance within another entrance. The Monday-Fridays daytime only access to Moorgate station

The main Crossrail entrance at Moorgate is most unusual in that so far it has been the only one under construction that doubles as a proper passenger entrance. The only completed direct Crossrail entrance in use is that at Tottenham Court Road east. Moorgate’s temporary of course as when its completed the actual arrangement will be different. I’ve used this quite a few times over the past year yet it seems somewhat stagnant in terms of progress. As I indicated, there’s rather more progress to be seen on the platforms.

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The rest of the huge Moorgate Crossrail/Circle/Hammersmith/Met frontage -still lots of work to do

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Spotted these diggers on rail trucks stabled at Moorgate in readiness for the big trackworks taking place this weekend

Farringdon – Its not easy to see what’s going on here. One thing I do know is the narrow thoroughfare from the station to Farringdon Road has now been widened and its so much better for it was quite crowded getting through here during rush hours. The extra space made available is temporary as the oversite development has been approved and is to begin quite soon.

The Thameslink side will of course form part of the new access to the Crossrail station as will the new access point at Barbican station. I’ve never really seen the rest of the works at Farringdon as these are behind a tall fence. Luckily I brought my cheap selfie stick, which I use with my compact camera. Here’s a clear view towards the station works unobstructed by the fencing.

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The west side of the Farringdon works taken with camera on selfie stick!

I really have no idea if Farringdon is on target for a December opening as my knowledge of this site isn’t sufficient. The platforms are complete as far as I know. One thing of interest at this station are the inclined elevators (or funiculars if you like) which will run alongside the escalators leading to the Barbican entrance.

The reason for these is the lack of above ground space for the installation of proper lifts. These funiculars will be of interest as so far London only has two – Greenford tube station and another by the Millennium bridge. Two of these lifts will be at the east end of the Farringdon site by the Barbican station and two more at the Crossrail Broadgate entrance.

This week photographs have been shown on the internet depicting the newly created art glass frontage currently being installed at the east part of the Farringdon station site. I have done a supplementary post on this showing the newly installed art windows.

Bond Street – About a month and a half ago the Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street finally started showing some development. The big delay here has been the completion of a ventilation shaft and other infrastructure, which was meant to have been finished in February but was not done until April. The station frontage is taking shape, it does seem to be going up fairly quick, but at this stage I cant say if its on schedule.

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The Hanover Square entrance to Bond Street Crossrail – finally taking shape after delays

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The side elevation of the Davies Street entrance at Bond Street showing new windows

I had always thought Bond Street Crossrail had the potential to be quite behind in terms of completion. In the past week or so the Davies Street side has finally begun receiving windows so hopefully by about the end of June we shall see a more or less completed station frontage at this important interchange location. The interior of the Davies Street building still needs to be fitted out and so far there’s little evidence of a single bit of this having been done. Yes I can see construction plans within the building on its far walls but nothing of any substance otherwise (like ticket barriers, ticket machines whatever.) The station’s signs still have to go up, the area cleared up and pavements restored (not forgetting the interior) etc so its still a good way off before we see a brand new station without construction paraphernalia.

Tottenham Court Road’s west side is far more advanced than Hanover or Davies Street, which is why I am somewhat concerned Bond Street will not be completed on time. Its not the end of the world however. Even if these buildings were not finished, which I think will be the case, the Elizabeth Line will still have full access via the Jubilee Line entrances on Oxford Street plus the new exit opened last year at Marylebone Lane.

Conversely one could also say the same for Tottenham Court Road. Any slippage in construction at the Dean Street (west) side wont affect the new Elizabeth Line immaterially because the east side (Charing Cross Road etc) combined with access to the Central and Northern is already complete and people will be able to access the new line from there.

In both the above scenarios TfL has only got to take the intervening partitions down and put the new stations to use.

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Close up of the new windows at Bond Street

Paddington – The Crossrail station is progressing quite well. Two months ago it was quite covered in scaffolding. Today as I write, most of this has been taken down. Eastbourne Terrace is closed for the arrival of a large crane which will lift further infrastructure into the new station. These closures are taking place over a number of weekends through May, June and July. The photo of the notice seen in Eastbourne Terrace details what has been going on here.

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I think Paddington will be on time because so much has been done, of course it’s got to be it’s a major Crossrail terminus for about six months of a year although some say it will be a terminus even longer because of the difficulty of operating the different signalling systems.

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Crossrail notice on the works at Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington

Where once there was lots of scaffolding most of this has now been taken down. A Cloud Index, the artwork by Spencer Finch, is now completed. TBH I’m not very impressed with it. In May I discussed with one of managers the fact this artwork looked ugly. He agreed with my sentiments but assured me the ‘clouds’ looked so much better from directly below, within the station concourse itself, rather than viewed from Eastbourne Terrace. Come December 2018, I shall be checking to see if this holds true! Anyway here’s some pictures of Finch’s artwork at the exact same spot taken on two different days. It actually looks more impressive on a dull day!

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Spencer Finch’s Cloud Index viewed from Eastbourne Terrace on a sunny day in May 2018

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Spencer Finch’s Cloud Index on a dull day in June 2018

Beyond Paddington station itself, the connections at Royal Oak are still not finished neither are the turn back sidings. This was obvious even when the new TfL Heathrow services had begun, and its still evident as I write. If trains are needed to test the line from Abbey Wood as far as Paddington these will be from Plumstead depot. There is absolutely no access as yet for the class 345s based at Old Oak Common.

If all goes well, in six months time Crossrail will become the Elizabeth Line. Shame its not going to serve Windsor. We could have called it the Elizabeth Windsor line!

2 Comments

  1. I think the Overground platforms at Whitechapel are going to be renumbered 3 and 4 soon. I’ve not got any inside information, but looking again at your photo of the line diagram there’s a temporary sticker over the section with platform numbers. The old platform 4 has been renumbered 2 in the last year or two, and I think after a suitable gap they’ll change 5 and 6 to 3 and 4, and the Eli… Crossrail platforms will be A and B as shown on RTT here: http://www.realtimetrains.co.uk/train/G37542/2018/07/29/advanced

    1. Author

      You could be right. Another way I had thought of it was that Overground would be 3 & 4 and XR 5 & 6, as you have showed from Real Times Trains XR is definitely using A & B platforms for all its central core stations.

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