Dateline: 28 April 2011 


Crossrail will run from Maidenhead, to the west of London, to Shenfield, to the east. In Central London the line will run deep underground with stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Moorgate, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel. In addition there is a spur to Heathrow Airport.


View of the Connaught Tunnel after it closed to Silverlink trains, in December 2006. In later years only one of two railway lines had been used.

Connaught Tunnel

Part of the line will need to run sub-surface near Stratford with the need for yet another tunnel. In the days when the Silverlink railway line ran from North Woolwich Station around North London, ending at Richmond, it used an old 'cut and cover' railway link under the Royal Docks, called the Connaught Tunnel. When the Silverlink stopped running, in December 2006, that tunnel fell into disuse. Crossrail engineer have had a look at it and decided to use it for Crossrail trains.

The old tunnel was opened in June 1876, four year before the Royal Albert Dock was opened to carry the North Woolwich to Canning Town railway. It was used to transport, among other things, passengers and goods from the nearby docks and it became known as the North Woolwich line. The tunnel allowed the railway to be diverted under the Connaught Passage, a water link which connected the Victoria and Albert Docks. The 'cut and cover' tunnel is 549m long. It will to be brought back to life as part of the Crossrail project in what the engineers call "renovate and reuse". It will cost £50m to get the tunnel into a fit state so that tracks and the electricity supply can be put in. They think it is cheaper than tunnelling underneath.

The engineers are extremely excited and nervous about what they'll find when soil excavations begin and they are eager to preserve the transport heritage of the capital.


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