The Queen will pay a trip to Europe’s largest construction project next week when she visits the Crossrail works at London’s Bond Street.
Her Majesty is due to make the 26m descent underground to see the ongoing building of brand new ticket halls that are expected to see over 220,000 people pass through them daily when the project is completed in 2018.
When services begin, Crossrail trains will travel from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east via new twin tunnels under Central London. The route will link Heathrow Airport, the West End, the City of London and Canary Wharf.
Whilst underground, The Queen will be treated to a viewing of the Bond Street station’s scale model, detailing some of the impressive features that the site will host. The station, one of the London’s busiest, will see a new public art piece commissioned for its spacious ticket hall and will blend local history with modern design.
Wider footpaths, new cycle stands along with improved lighting and signage are all part of the plan, to help the area cope with the thousands of commuters and tourists passing through it each day.
The Queen will move to the station’s westbound platform, under Davies Street, where she will see the sprayed concrete lining of the tunnels and the incredible 35-metre high ventilation shaft which has just been completed. Her Majesty will then move to the Eastbound tunnel and inspect the railway tunnel itself.
Her Majesty will also meet a number of key figures in Crossrail’s delivery including Mayor of London, Boris Johnson; Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin; Crossrail’s Chairman, Terry Morgan; and CEO, Andrew Wolstenholme.
The Crossrail project, which has been in development since 1974, broke ground in May 2009 at Canary Wharf and the main tunnelling works began three years later.
Indeed, the project also has a fitting link to The Queen. The two 1,000-ton boring machines that completed the final leg of tunnelling were named Victoria and Elizabeth, after the two legendary Queens. Victoria was monarch in the first age of great railway engineering projects and Elizabeth is the monarch at the beginning of another era of British railway history.
Teams of dedicated engineers worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week to complete the 42km (26 miles) of tunnels, digging out over three million tonnes of material and uncovering some of London’s 2000 year history in the process.
Crossrail will lead to 55,000 full-time jobs, with 10,000 people already working across 40 sites. It is estimated it will add around £42 billion to the UK economy and will increase central London’s rail capacity by 10% – the largest increase since World War Two.
Each train will provide space for 1,500 customers across nine walk-through carriages. At over 200 metres long, they are over one-and-a-half times longer than the longest Tube train. They will host a multitude of new features, including on-train customer information systems displaying real-time travel information to allow travellers to plan their journeys onboard. It will also be the first time Wi-Fi will be available on the trains underground, as well as adding to the existing connectivity on the platforms.
For more information on Crossrail, its ongoing work and its impressive list of facts and figures, visit the website.