With 26 miles of tunnel made up of 200,000 concrete segments, and at a project cost of £14.8bn, Crossrail is currently Europe’s largest civil construction project.
Approved in Boris Johnson’s first term as Mayor of London and under a Labour Government, the project that totals 63 miles in its entire length, is an important and lasting legacy for the Capital. Since work started in May 2009, over 100 million working hours have been spent on the project which is, perhaps against stereotype, going to be delivered on time and within budget.
When the first Crossrail services start in December 2018 an estimated 200 million annual passengers will use what will then be called the Elizabeth Line, and with it the economic benefits will be felt across London and the South-East.
Connecting Reading in the West to Shenfield in the East, Crossrail will bring an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of key employment, leisure and business districts along its route at Heathrow, Central London, The City, Canary Wharf and the docklands. It is estimated that the project, which will serve 40 stations, will generate at least 75,000 business opportunities.
Policy makers have increasingly come to recognise that transport lies at the foundation of a myriad of policy challenges across Government, in particular London’s key challenges of providing sufficient housing and access to employment that will be required in the future. If we can live further afield, and have a fast journey in to work, then housing shortages in Central London become less pressing and people with a variety of skills are more able to get to work without affordability concerns.
Crossrail will also play its role in increasing the number of visitors to London’s major events, which provides a significant revenue stream to the London economy. The total expenditure of event tourists in London was in the region of £2.8 billion in 2015. Domestic day visitors contributed £1.87 billion, with overnight international and domestic visitors contributing a further £644 million and £297 million respectively. Therefore, we can expect to see increased visitor numbers from domestic and international visitors, benefitting particularly from the fast link to Heathrow.
A dedicated Crossrail station at ExCeL will open up the whole of London to delegates, visitors and exhibitors, with journey times including:
- Canary Wharf — 3 minutes
- Liverpool Street — 10 minutes
- Farringdon — 12 minutes
- Tottenham Court Road — 15 minutes
- Bond Street — 17 minutes
- Paddington — 20 minutes
- Heathrow — 43 minutes