Crossrail was first proposed in 1974 with the London Rail study. Several intervening attempts to green light the project notwithstanding, boots finally hit the ground in 2009 and by 2018, more than 200 million passengers will travel via Crossrail each year.

Crossrail will stretch over 62 miles (100 kilometers) from Maidenhead and Heathrow Airport in the west of London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, traversing the city via a 13-mile (21-kilometer) twin bore tunnel connected to the existing underground system. The program includes eight new sub-surface stations and upgrades to 27 existing surface stations.

Knowledge and dedication

Selected as program partner in 2009, the Transcend joint venture is comprised of three world-class industry leaders: AECOM, CH2M Hill and The Nichols Group. The consortium is providing strategic management services to help Crossrail deliver the facility on time, within budget and to the highest standards.

As the lead of this venture, AECOM professionals are working as part of a wholly integrated client program management team. Both UK and international contractors dovetail on the major contract packages and at its peak, more than 14,000 staff will be working on Crossrail. AECOM experts are delivering across program and project management, program reporting, procurement, engineering management, and assurance and industry partner management services.

Going underground

Tunneling works on this US$24-billion (£14.8-billion) project are well underway beneath London and the station sites are progressing according to schedule for their anticipated opening in 2018.

At 656 feet (200 meters) long, Crossrail trains will be almost double the size of current London Underground trains and can carry 1,500 passengers. The railway will also bring an additional 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London — linking London’s employment, leisure and business districts, and enabling further economic development.

Crossrail will have a huge positive impact on London for many years to come. Not only will it make the city more accessible, it will generate significant employment opportunities. AECOM coordination manager on the project, Ian Brown, explained: “Any single Crossrail station project would normally be a major city undertaking, but there are landmark station works spread across the entire city route, which makes this program special. It is wonderful to contribute with AECOM staff from around the world to a project that will benefit so many Londoners as well as those visiting and working in our great capital city.”

By the numbers

Crossrail is among the most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the United Kingdom. From improving journey times across London, to easing congestion and offering better connections, Crossrail will change the way people travel around the capital.

  • Crossrail is Europe’s largest construction project — work started in May 2009 and there are approximately 10,000 people working at more than 40 construction sites.
  • More than 35 million work hours have been completed on the Crossrail project so far.
  • Crossrail will transform rail transport in London, increasing capacity by 10 percent, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the city.
  • The Crossrail route will run over 62 miles (100 kilometers) from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.
  • There will be 38 Crossrail stations including nine new stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House and Woolwich.
  • Crossrail will bring an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London and will link London’s key employment, leisure and business districts — Heathrow, West End, the City, Docklands — enabling further economic development.

Tunneling information

  • A total of eight tunneling machines will be used on Crossrail. Each tunneling machine is a 1,100-ton (1,000-metric ton), 492-foot (150-meter) long underground factory with 20-person ‘tunnel gangs’ working in shifts.
  • At peak times, the tunneling machines aim for approximately 328 feet (100 meters) of tunneling progress per week — as the tunneling machines move forward, precast concrete segments are built in rings behind — 250,000 tunnel segments will be used to line the 26 miles (42 kilometers) of tunnels.
  • 4.9 million tons (4.5 million metric tons) of excavated material from the tunnels will be shipped to Wallasea Island in Essex where it will be used to create a new 1,500-acre (607-hectare) nature reserve.

Jobs and supply chain

Over the course of the project, Crossrail expects there to be at least 75,000 opportunities for businesses, generating enough work to support the equivalent of 55,000 full-time jobs. However, it’s not just London and the South East that will benefit from Crossrail. Firms around the country and of all sizes are winning business:

  • More than a third are based in London
  • 62 percent are outside London
  • 58 percent are small- and medium-sized businesses

Skills and legacy

  • Crossrail already has more than 260 apprentices working on the project. At least 400 apprentices will be created by Crossrail.
  • The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) is a purpose-built training facility that supports the key skills required to work in tunnel excavation, underground construction and infrastructure.
  • By building and establishing TUCA, Crossrail is contributing to the development of new qualifications as well as health and safety standards across the industry.
  • Crossrail is working with industry, professional entities and other organizations with a requirement for skilled underground workers,to ensure the facilities and training at TUCA are aligned with the needs of the industry.
  • Crossrail has a target of providing 350 work placement opportunities across the project.


  • Project contractors are exceeding recycling targets with more than 92 percent of demolition and construction waste beneficially reused.
  • More than 98 percent of excavated material is recycled with the vast majority being used to create a nature reserve at Wallasea Island in Essex.
  • Crossrail rolling stock procurement includes requirements relating to regenerative braking, energy consumption and weight limits.
  • All lorries delivering to Crossrail sites are required to carry additional safety features and regular drivers must undergo additional road safety training.

General benefits

Increased capacity:

  • Crossrail will increase London’s rail capacity by 10 percent. This will reduce congestion and allow for more comfortable journey conditions.
  • Congestion at many stations will be reduced, even for those that are not on the Crossrail route — such as Oxford Circus.

Improved connectivity:

  • Crossrail will make it easier for businesses to move about London, to meet clients and negotiate with suppliers.
  • Moreover, Crossrail will make accessing major international gateways like London Heathrow more accessible. Most commentators see the UK’s future economic prospects being linked closely to an increase in international trade and the ability to export more — particularly to emerging economies.
  • The journey time from London Heathrow to the City of London (Liverpool Street) will fall from 55 to 32 minutes.

Timeline and future milestones


  • In early 2014, Crossrail’s final tunneling machine will be launched from Pudding Mill Lane in east London.
  • The contract for Crossrail’s new high-capacity rolling stock will be awarded in 2014.
  • By the end of 2014, the vast majority of Crossrail’s 26 miles (42 kilometers) of tunneling will be completed and the major civil engineering works will be completed.
  • In late 2014, Transport for London is due to confirm who has been awarded the Crossrail operating concession from 2015.


  • Major fit-out of stations and tunnels continues as does the major upgrade of the existing rail network for Crossrail services by Network Rail.


  • The first new Crossrail rolling stock will start to replace existing suburban trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.


  • In late 2018, the first Crossrail services will start through the central London tunneled section.


In late 2019, the full Crossrail service will be operating from Heathrow and Maidenhead to Abbey Wood and Shenfield.


Top partners: AECOM | The Nichols Group | CH2M Hill