A glimpse of one small cog in currently the largest engineering project in Europe, a most voracious beast which has consumed all before it, leaving an unprecedented trail of demolition and upheaval across central London.
The work seen here is for the western ticket hall of the new Bond Street station. Thirty-eight diaphragm wall panels, forming a continuous concrete wall up to 50 metres deep, have been completed, and construction is underway of 63 bored piles which will support the final structure. Once that is done, soil will be excavated for the ticket hall. The station itself will be about 25 metres below ground and the line here will run parallel to, and about 100 metres south of, Oxford Street. Eventually, the Crossrail station will be linked to the existing underground station (undergoing renovation itself) - extra complications were spared by the fact that the Jubilee Line is deeper and the Central Line more northerly. The work here is being carried out by Costain Skanska Joint Venture.
Once finished, Crossrail will provide a railway running from Maidenhead, in the west, via Heathrow Airport, through the West End, the City, Canary Wharf, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. Up to 24 trains per hour will connect 37 stations. A total of 21km of twin tunnels are being bored through the most densely packed areas of central London (as well as eight stations being built), from just west of Paddington to Farringdon. Two "Tunnel Boring Machines", named Ada, after pioneer computer scientist Ada Lovelace, and Phyllis, after creator of the London A-Z Phyllis Pearsall, have been built to order (by one of only two companies in the world capable of such a job) and commenced work in May 2012 at Royal Oak, just west of Paddington. Each TBM cost £10m, weighs 1,000 tonnes, is the length of 14 London buses and will run 24-7, excavating enough London clay to create 100 metres of tunnel per week. The projected total cost of around £16 billion is almost wholly being met from the public purse. If all goes to plan, trains will start running in 2018. The whole project is mind-bogglingly complex, and if it does go to plan, one must doff one's hat to those involved.
East of this ticket hall, and eventually connected to it by 250 metre long platforms, will be the eastern ticket hall: TQ2881 : Crossrail construction, Tenterden Street (1)
, TQ2881 : Crossrail construction, Tenterden Street (2)
and TQ2881 : Crossrail construction, Tenterden Street (3)
Davies Street runs diagonally across the top-left corner of this photo. The only building needing to be demolished for this structure was the innocuous one glimpsed on the left of this photo TQ2881 : Junction of St Anselm's Place with Davies Street