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Woolwich Crossrail station holds tours
IT MAY not look like a train station yet, but eager transport buffs still got a tour of Woolwich's new Crossrail terminal.
The 20m deep concrete box has been dug into the ground near the Royal Arsenal in a project by developer Berkeley Homes.
While legal wrangling continues over financing the station's fit out, the first section of the box itself - completed four-and-a-half months ahead of schedule - was handed over to Crossrail on Friday.
John Anderson from Berkeley admitted there had been "frustrations" over the fit-out but discussions between them, Crossrail and Greenwich Council were ongoing and an announcement could be made soon.
He denied there was any danger the station could be left empty, saying: "There's an urgency from our point of view because we're finishing the box."
When complete, the £100m station's western entrance will emerge on to Dial Arch Square, with the eastern end featuring a park and the rest covered in new homes and an access road.
Excavation turned up three old ship cannons which may act as a feature in the new station.
The first tunnel boring machine, Sophia, is currently on its way from Plumstead and will arrive at the Woolwich box in mid-April.
Project director Mike Woolliscroft said: "We'd like to thank the local residents and council for being so cooperative and putting up with so much pressure on them on the weekends and evenings."
Once inside, the tunnelling machines will be pushed through the station box and one will eventually be launched out under the Thames.
When completed, the cavernous space will see 240m long platforms with protection screens like those at the Jubilee Line, while the trains will whisk you to Canary Wharf in eight minutes, Liverpool Street in 14 and Heathrow in 45.
Mr Woolliscroft said: "Its a fantastic change to Greenwich and to Woolwich. It will deliver such a massive reduction in journey times."
Last week's open day finished with a fun run hosted by Capital FM DJ Dave Berry in aid of hospice charity Demelza, raising £3,000.
Corporate partnerships manager Donna Wells said: “We hope everyone enjoyed looking around the station box at the tremendous work Berkeley Homes has done on the site in Woolwich and also all those who took part in the unique fancy dress run.
"We are so grateful to Berkeley Homes that they chose to also fundraise for Demelza as we have a children’s hospice down the road in Eltham."
Find out more about the charity at their website.