Crossrail: the slow route to London's regional express railway

  • Michael Hebbert
  • Town Planning Review, January 2014, Liverpool University Press
  • DOI: 10.3828/tpr.2014.11

London Crossrail - the back story

Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

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.

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'.

Perspectives

Professor Michael Hebbert
University College London

As sole author of the paper my interest in Crossrail derives both from longstanding interest in the changing structure of London, and specifically from experience as chair of the Crossrail Design Review Panel at a formative stage of the project.

Read Publication

http://dx.doi.org/10.3828/tpr.2014.11

The following have contributed to this page: Professor Michael Hebbert