Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling and Deputy Mayor for Transport Val Shawcross joined Crossrail Chairman Sir Terry Morgan and Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme 35 m below ground, in the eastbound tunnel of the new Whitechapel Elizabeth line station – where the final rail clips were affixed to the track by Ellen McGuinness, Track Quality Control Engineer, to commemorate the milestone.
With the track fully laid, the £14.8 billion ($20 billion US) project has entered a new phase as construction trains are now able to travel the full length of both new tunnels from end to end. A construction train completed the journey for the first time earlier this summer – entering at Plumstead in east London, passing through nine new central station platforms and exiting at Royal Oak Portal in the west, with light at both ends of the tunnel.
More than 1,000 highly skilled men and women have installed the 63,000 sleepers, 51,419 m of rail and over 800 sections of Long Welded Rail (LWR) which make up the new 50+ km of Elizabeth line track. Over 13,500 m3 of concrete was poured by the concreting train as part of the track installation.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said: “The completion of the Elizabeth line track is a huge milestone on the way to finishing a project that will transform transport across London and the South East. With brand new trains and step-free stations, the Elizabeth line will provide a truly world-class service for passengers, and this important landmark is testament to the hard work and expertise of all the men and women who have been working on the project.
“Alongside progressing plans for Crossrail 2, the completion of the Elizabeth line will be vital for helping us deal with London’s growing population, it will boost jobs across the UK, and improve the quality of life for millions of people living and working in the region.”
With just over a year to go until the Elizabeth line opens, the Crossrail project is now focused on the installation of platform screen doors, signalling, tunnel ventilation and communications systems along with the overhead lines that will power the new trains.