Published: 14th July 2014
Crossrail will be the subject of a three part documentary starting on July 16 on BBC2 at 9pm. This will feature images from the collection of rail.co.uk’s editor Phil Marsh, dating back 150 years.
The series takes the public behind the scenes of Europe’s largest infrastructure project as it constructs a new rail line through the heart of one of the world’s busiest cities.
Crossrail allowed exclusive access over two years to the BBC’s producers Windfall Films who spent time with our tunnellers and engineers as construction of the new railway progressed.
“The documentary series provides a unique insight into the complexity and challenges of delivering Europe’s biggest construction project through the very heart of London. Every day people walk past our construction sites unaware of the maze of tunnels that are being constructed below London’s busy streets.”
The £16billion rail project, Crossrail is well on the way to being completed on time and to budget and will link Reading, central London with Essex. The growth in the population, growing road congestion and pollution combined with the rail renaissance and more employment has brought calls for ‘Crossrail 2’. The public has until July 25 to comment on proposals.
The Crossrail 2 team forecast that London’s population will increase by 1.5 million in the next 20 years possibly reaching 10 million by 2030. This means that given the lead time to provide new infrastructure, a decision will have to be made in the next few years if this forecast and associated transport demand is to be met.
The team says that London generates a net tax revenue of over £5 billion a year but does not retain enough of this to fund its own new line. So Boris Johnson, London’s Mayor has to convince Government to grant fund London’s needs.
He, and Transport for London (TfL) have the skills to plan for the next two decades but are unable to go any further than planning because of the funding issue. The Crossrail 2 taskforce comprises of the business group London First, including KPMG, John Lewis, BAML, Tony Travers from the London School of Economics, Network Rail and former transport secretary Lord Adonis and the report sets out funding options.
The new line would run roughly north-east to south-west connecting the Hertfordshire, Middlesex and Surrey suburbs via Tottenham Court Road. This would involve creating a new central tunnel between Tottenham and Wimbledon which would relieve the Underground as has Thameslink by bringing through services across London. This could cost £12 billion but once the route is chosen, then a robust estimate can be made.
The task force was formed in 2011 looked at the case for Crossrail 2 and in May 2012, published an Interim Report which recommended there was a strong investment case for a new line and has now completed a second phase of investigation looking at route options in more detail.
The Bedlam burial ground dates back possibly 500 years and 15 Crossrail sponsored “Buried at Bedlam” volunteers have begun to examine centuries of parish records at the London Metropolitan Archives to create the first list of names who might have been buried at Bedlam which is under Liverpool Street.
Crossrail archaeologists will be carefully excavating up to 3,000 skeletons before construction of the new Liverpool Street Crossrail station can begin next year. About 400 skeletons have been removed as part of the preliminary works. It is likely that many who were buried there were victims of the plague which swept across Europe during the 16th Century.
As the burial was not associated with a parish church, records are difficult to verify so the Crossrail team would like the public to help if possible. If you have any information about this, the Crossrail Bedlam team want to hear from you. Anyone who thinks they have something to contribute should email email@example.com
Jay Carver, Crossrail’s Lead Archaeologist, said: “The Bedlam burial ground is a unique site that spans a fascinating period of London’s turbulent past. What make this exciting is that through the various records made by the parish clerks of the time we can gain a snapshot of the people who lived and died in the area and provide biographic details to supplement the excavated evidence.
“As so many of the records of time are likely to be missing we will only obtain a snapshot of who was buried at Bedlam but it will provide a unique record of the lives and deaths of 16th and 17th Century Londoners from the local area. We’re keen for anyone who may have family connections to the site, or anecdotes about the area to get in touch.”
London’s Docklands Light Railway (DLR) operation will change from Serco, who has operated the railway since 1997, to a partnership between Amey (70%) and Keolis (30%). The deal, to operate and maintain the DLR runs for six and a half years and commences in December 2014. Provision has been made for extensions to the agreement if required.
The franchise agreement brings the train operations and maintenance responsibilities to the joint venture which has 34km of track and 38 stations plus the trains themselves.
Mel Ewell, chief executive for Amey, said: “We are delighted that DLRL has selected the joint venture to deliver train and passenger services across this strategic network in London.
“Keolis’ global experience combined with Amey’s UK rail and asset management expertise will deliver a specialist service that provides value and ensures London’s travelling public experiences a reliable and high quality service.”
Keolis were recently awarded the Thameslink, Southern Great Northern Franchise and have been shortlisted for the East Coast Trains Franchise.