Rail engineers step into the limelight for a second documentary series on the BBC
Following the huge popularity of the BBC series, The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway which aired in July 2014, producers Windfall Films have been given exclusive access to the Crossrail project under London over the last two years to film the next stage of its progress.
The first series followed workers as they tunnelled under London, re-built the Victorian Connaught Tunnel in the Royal Docks, and constructed the cathedral-sized new station at Canary Wharf for what will be named the Elizabeth line.
The second series is being screened in two parts, and witnesses more engineering challenges and key milestones. The first episode follows workers as they complete 26 miles of tunnels, install permanent track under the Barbican, and construct the new ticket hall at Whitechapel. It also follows archaeologists as they uncover a Roman road at Liverpool Street.
Episode two looks at the construction of the new stations at Tottenham Court Road and Paddington, the design heritage of London’s transport network, and visits Bombardier Transportation in Derby where the new Elizabeth line trains are being manufactured.
TfL’s operations director for the Elizabeth line, Howard Smith, said: “It’s great to be able to share all the hard work that has gone into the project and take viewers behind the scenes on what it takes to deliver a new railway from constructing stations to laying tracks and building the new trains that our customers will soon be using. There’s still more to be done before the Elizabeth line opens in December 2018 but this is a fantastic way to show the progress made so far.”
The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway was produced by Windfall Films for the BBC and the Open University.
Manchester Victoria station reopens a week after the Manchester Arena bombing
Manchester Victoria station was evacuated and all lines blocked following the suicide bombing at the adjacent Manchester Arena on 22 May, which killed 22 and injured many more. The station remained closed throughout the police investigations, but opened again on 30 May and services have resumed.
The station, which lies adjacent to the Manchester Arena suffered some structural damage in the blast and repairs are ongoing.
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “The professionalism and compassion of railway staff and others working in the vicinity of Manchester Victoria on the night of the Manchester Arena bombing showed the positive side of what people are prepared to do for each other. Staff working in the station, on trains, and in the surrounding area went above and beyond their duties, rushing to the scene to help and comfort victims and working late into the night to help children and families get home safely in the aftermath of this atrocity. The thoughts of everyone in the railway are with the victims, their loved ones and the people of Manchester.”
Shenfield ready for new TfL Rail trains after major engineering work
Network Rail has completed a programme of upgrades on the Great Eastern Main Line to prepare it for the Elizabeth line services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield, and in time for the introduction of the first new Bombardier Class 345 trains for TfL Rail.
Major engineering work has taken place at Shenfield to completely remodel the rail junction and remove the existing bottleneck. Over 5,000 metres of new track and 26 new track switches have been laid during the work, and signals and overhead power lines replaced. Services can now pass freely through the junction without having to wait for other trains.
Three new sidings have been built which are capable of accommodating the new 200m long trains. Platform 5 has been extended and a new bay platform built exclusively for the Elizabeth line service.
Stations between Liverpool Street and Shenfield have also been upgraded to accommodate the new trains. Meanwhile, the new sidings at Ilford, where the trains will be stabled, are nearing completion.
Court upholds ORR decision in dispute over Crossrail charges
After a three day hearing the High Court has dismissed Heathrow Airport’s application for a judicial review into its dispute with Transport for London over access charges for Crossrail services.
Heathrow was arguing that the four Crossrail trains, which are scheduled to replace Heathrow Connect services in 2018, will run on track that had been privately funded. It wanted TfL to pay up to £42m per annum in additional charges, connected with the recovery of the building costs.
In May 2016, the Office of Rail and Road had ruled that Heathrow would not be allowed to make these additional charges.
ORR has welcomed the decision to uphold its ruling while Campaign for Better Transport said it was ‘a ‘victory for common sense’, as the high charges would have discouraged passengers from using public transport to access the airport.
Striking glass artwork for Farringdon station
British artist Simon Periton has been commissioned to design artwork for Farringdon station’s new eastern entrance. The three glazed sides of the building are to feature an intricate pattern that reflects the elaborate Victorian metalwork of the historic Smithfield Market directly opposite.
In the evening, the station lights will illuminate the design from inside, offering a dramatic perspective to those on the nearby streets.
The artwork is being funded by Goldman Sachs and the City of London Corporation.
Waterloo crossing ready to roll
CEMEX Rail Solutions has completed the design and construction of its largest rail crossing, which is to be installed outside Waterloo station in London. The bespoke multiple crossing consists of 10 sets of switches through 1800 metres of rail track, and has been made of concrete to increase its strength and lifespan.
Unexploded bomb causes rail chaos The railway line from Birmingham New Street to Lichfield Trent Valley was closed for 2 days from 15 May when an unexploded World War 2 bomb was uncovered at a nearby construction site. The Army, which destroyed the bomb in a controlled explosion, said the 500lb device was one of the largest unexploded bombs to have been found on British soil.
GWR goes for Nomad Wi-Fi
Nomad Digital is to deliver Wi-Fi to the Great Western Railway’s new fleet of Intercity Express Trains. The Nomad open connectivity infrastructure is to be built into a total of 93 trains, with the first entering service this year, and the entire fleet in operation by the end of 2019. The deal includes a fullservice management package for the new train fleet.
Selwood provides pumps for London’s rail
Pump rental specialist Selwood has won a three-year contract to supply pumping solutions to Network Rail for use on two key routes into London: London North Western and London North Eastern & East Midlands. The Wales route has subsequently been added to the agreement. Network Rail has the option to purchase pumps from Selwood if required.
Sydney Metro contract for Bechtel
Bechtel has been awarded a landmark contract for stage 2 of the Sydney Metro project. As official delivery management partner, Bechtel will oversee the tunnels and stations excavation, including managing the delivery of 15.5 km of twin-bore tunneling using five tunnel boring machines and excavation for six new metro stations. When completed, the Sydney Metro will include new twin rail tunnels under Sydney Harbour.
Delhi metro extension opens
The latest section of the Delhi metro network, a 5·2 km extension of Line 6 linking Kashmere Gate to ITO, opened to passengers on May 28. This northern extension is entirely underground with intermediate stations at Delhi Gate, Jama Masjid and Lal Qila. Kashmere Gate is the first station on the metro to be an interchange for three lines, and Delhi Gate has provision for an interchange with lines that are due to open in Phase IV of the network expansion.
Consultants appointed for Malaysian rail
SYSTRA and Meinhardt have been awarded two reference design consultant contracts for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail project. One is for civil reference design works of Bandar Malaysia station in Kuala Lumpur and Iskandar Puteri station at the Southern end of the Malaysian alignment. The 2nd covers civil reference design works over the first 38km from Bandar Malaysia station to the State border between Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.