Crossrail in legal wrangle over Heathrow stop

A legal row between the developers of London’s £15 billion Crossrail underground railway project and the operators of Heathrow Airport could result in trains not stopping at the nation’s busiest airport.

Currently, Heathrow Express trains run on 5 miles of track that the airport laid at a cost of £1 billion. Crossrails’ arrival means that that service will no longer be viable. The Times has reported that because of this, the airport’s investment fund owners are looking to recoup their investment by charging £570 for every Crossrail train that uses the track, in addition to standing fees of around £107 per train.

According to transport officials and the rail watchdog, such charges have no justification and they fear that their imposition would cost Crossrail £42 million per year and result in higher ticket charges. A decision on the wrangle is now with a High Court judge whose judgement is expected imminently.

If the decision goes against Crossrail, Transport for London have drawn up contingency plans to terminate the trains a few miles short of the airport, forcing travellers to change to alternative trains but meaning that Crossrail would avoid paying the fees. In fact, Crossrail is already believed to have earmarked a location somewhere near the airport where the trains could be turned around for the return journey or continue travelling west.

Heathrow told the Times: ‘We need to ensure that track access charges are fair, and are waiting on a ruling from the courts.’

Crossrail is expected to be ready to operate by December 2019.


Network Rail to Support Crossrail 2 Project

Crossrail 2, a new cross-London railway project, has received support from Network Rail, the company that operates the railway network in the UK.

The new Crossrail 2 line is intended to reduce traffic congestion by offering extra capacity for passengers travelling on the Underground and national rail networks. The new rail line is expected to offer suburban and regional services between parts of Middlesex and Surrey in the southwest, and Hertfordshire in the northeast of the region, using a new central tunnel between Wimbledon and Tottenham.

The new line has been recommended by a recent report submitted by London First’s Crossrail taskforce, under the leadership of former transport secretary, Lord Adonis.

The report states that, ‘a new south-west to north-east (SW-NE) rail line, Crossrail 2, should be built to provide suburban and regional services between Hertfordshire and parts of Surrey and Middlesex, via a new central tunnel between Tottenham and Wimbledon.

The main rationale for this is that rapid population and central London employment growth will require the provision of significant additional capacity on London’s transport networks from the mid 2020s onwards. Over the next 20 years, employment in London – mostly in central London – is projected to rise by 700,000 and the capital’s population is expected to rise by 1.5 million to almost 10 million, its highest level ever.’

David Higgins, the chief executive officer of Network Rail, said, ‘If the capital’s economy is to continue to thrive then we must plan now, together, for the transport infrastructure requirements of London’s future.

Our projections show that by 2031 we will need to accommodate 36 percent more commuters into London each day. Network Rail is already delivering the biggest capacity improvement programme since the Victorian era, but even that will not be enough on some routes.

A regional Crossrail 2 scheme will provide the capacity we need to provide for the commuters of the future, providing extra capacity to and through central London and easing overcrowding on the already congested routes into Waterloo and Liverpool Street.’

Crossrail Announces Replacement of Railway Bridges

Network Rail, on behalf of Crossrail, a major new railway that is under construction in the South East England, and which will link Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to Essex and Kent, via Greater London, has commenced the restoration of four bridges in Slough and Hillingdon, in readiness for the new electric train service.

The Crossrail railway link is currently being constructed across central London, and is expected to open in 2018, operating up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel, during peak hours of service.

The new electric trains are intended to provide a faster, cleaner, smoother and more dependable train service than existing diesel suburban trains. However all bridges on the route must be cleared for the installation of over-head electric equipment. Middlegreen Road Bridge and Trenches Bridge in Slough, and Old Stockley Road Bridge and Horton Bridge in Hillingdon, will be renovated as part of the upgrade.

Network Rail will carry out the bridge replacement project on behalf of Crossrail, with a proposed completion date Easter 2013.

Jorge Mendonca, the Crossrail programme director for Network Rail, said, ‘Crossrail will transform the journeys of passengers who wish to travel into or across central London. The work we are undertaking on bridges across the western section of the route will not only enable new longer Crossrail trains to operate but is also an essential part of the programme to electrify the Great Western main line.

During Christmas and Easter we will be removing the old bridges and installing new ones. We’ve spent months preparing for this to ensure we complete the work with the least possible impact on residents.’

Crossrail will also include a major development at Paddington. The 320,000 sq ft development is located at the intersection of Bishop’s Bridge Road and the Grand Union Canal, and will include 15 storeys of office space, as well as retail outlets.

The building will provide access to Crossrail, National Rail and Hammersmith & City line services at Paddington.


Network Rail Announces Signalling Contract for Crossrail

Network Rail, which operates a railway network in the UK, has contracted Osborne, a construction company, to install a signalling system for the western section of Crossrail, a new network of railway tracks in the UK.

Osborne will be providing for around £7m worth of signalling system, to be installed on a 17-mile section from West Drayton to Maidenhead. The contract includes planning and building of infrastructure for the new signalling works, including concrete bases for signalling gear and buildings; regeneration of concrete cable troughs; and other work such as site clearance, fencing, steps, guardrails and safety barriers.

Jorge Mendonca, the programme director for Crossrail, at Network Rail, said, ‘My team’s role is to transform the surface railway to make Crossrail a success. The work Osborne is doing is an important piece of this complex jigsaw. We’ll be working hand-in-hand with them to complete this section of work on time and budget to provide a more reliable service for passengers travelling from Maidenhead to London.’

The railway segment in question offers connectivity to passengers travelling to central London and London Heathrow Airport. Crossrail is expected to open in 2018, offering a quicker, quieter, eco-friendly and extra dependable service to commuters.

Dave Hooper, the executive director of Osborne, said, ‘These works will play an important role in improving the rail experience for the millions of passengers who travel on this stretch of track each year. We have a 25 year track record of delivering high profile rail projects whilst maintaining the operational railway, and will be using high street environment working best practice and innovative construction techniques to deliver these works as efficiently as possible while remaining focused on the safety and operation of the railway.’

Crossrail Announces Plans for Underground Commercial Development

Crossrail, a new railway network, will also include a major development at Paddington, London, according to Crossrail Ltd, the company developing the railway project.

The 320,000 sq ft development is located at the intersection of Bishop’s Bridge Road and the Grand Union Canal, and will include 15 storeys of office space, as well as retail outlets.

The building at Paddington will include entry to Crossrail, National Rail and Hammersmith & City line services.

Ian Lindsay, a director at Crossrail Land and Property, said, ‘This major new commercial development will play an important role in the continued transformation of Paddington. Crossrail is the first UK rail project to deliver an integrated package of new and improved rail infrastructure alongside high-quality over-site development and public realm improvements, which will boost urban regeneration.

This development will signal the completion of a further phase in the renaissance of Paddington as a major commercial location.’

The Crossrail railway link is currently being constructed beneath central London, and is expected to open in 2018, when it will operate up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during its peak hours of service.

Kay Buxton, the chief executive officer at Paddington Waterside Partnership, said, ‘Paddington is one of the fastest growing business and residential areas in the capital. Crossrail will deliver improved and direct transport connections with areas to the west and east of the capital as well as with London’s other major employment centres. This development not only enhances Paddington’s position as an important business location, it also delivers new connectivity within the Paddington area by providing improved pedestrian access to the Grand Union Canal through a spectacular waterside scheme.’