What is it about?
The 150 year history of attempts to join up the main line railway terminals surrounding central London. It ends optimistically with the widely shared assumption that London's first through railway line was about to start running in 2018, being reputedly 'on time and on budget'. In fact it may not start running until late in 2021.
Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash
Why is it important?
The paper offers the first historical overview of the largest transport infrastructure project of modern times. Crossrail 's importance for London cannot be understated, since it will boost the capacity of the TfL network by 10%, and is already redistributing land values significantly between centre and periphery, east and west. It has international significance as an example of metropolitan infrastructure that is being tunnelled under the centre of the city expressly in order to minimise its impact - this is 'megastructure as keyhole surgery'.
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This page is a summary of: Crossrail: the slow route to London's regional express railway, Town Planning Review, January 2014, Liverpool University Press, DOI: 10.3828/tpr.2014.11.
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Crossrail's website offers current updates and a mine of rich visual and documentary material. Especially exciting are the time-lapse sequences showing the creation of construction sites across central London, demolition of buildings, excavation of shafts, completion of tunneling, creation of ticket halls, appearance of new buildings, and eventual (future) operation.
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