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The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway

This week played host to the final episode of the three-part BBC 2 series ‘The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway’. The programme followed the team of more than 10,000 engineers and construction workers as they create Crossrail - a new railway under London which will feed into the existing London Underground network. 

Having worked with rail clients, I have a keen interest in the UK’s railway infrastructure (and the people who maintain it) so tuned in three weeks ago to see what this programme was all about. 

Now you may not even have heard of Crossrail, especially if you live outside of the M25 and don’t travel to ‘the smoke’ very often, but it’s a nine-year project that will increase capacity and reduce journey times across the city. 

Each episode had a different theme which explored various elements of the project and delved into the planning and execution of work being undertaken to deliver Europe’s biggest engineering project. 

With my mind officially blown by the sheer scale of the project, the equipment being used, the cost of everything and the knowledge & skill of the engineers and construction operatives working day in, day out to get everything finished on time, I have been left inspired and excited about Crossrail arriving in London. I was particularly impressed with the giant, 1,000 tonne tunnel boring machines (TBMs – check out my lingo!) burrowing their way through the land below the streets of London. 

Whilst I appreciate that the project has (and will continue) to cause much disruption across the city, I am awed by the whole project and take my (hard) hat off to all the people working across the 40 sites who have delivered more than 44 million working hours to-date and those working/who have worked behind the scenes to make Crossrail happen. 

I could go on about it forever (much to the annoyance of my colleagues, friends and family!) and urge you to either watch the BBC series here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04b7h1w or read more about Crossrail here http://www.crossrail.co.uk/ (I particularly like the ‘Crossrail in numbers’ page). And if, like me, the programme made a big impression on you, why not leave a comment or get in touch via email, our Facebook or Twitter pages. 

Tagged with: Crossrail, engineering, London, London Underground

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