Stuffy, overcrowded, irritable, nauseating, putrid. These were just a few of the words that I had used to describe London’s Underground System, as I was making that most tedious journey on the
Piccadilly Line, from South Kensington to Russell Square. And it’s not just me that feels this way. I know for a fact, that thousands of other commuters are bored to death by the state of the
appalling transportation service that is… the Tube.
But rest assured… there is light at the end of this futile tunnel.
20 years in the coming, a new Government proposal has finally been unveiled that could ultimately rid us of Torturous Tube’s, and make way for a new, sophisticated breed of transport; Crossrail.
Since being initially conceived, way back in 1989- at a cost of £900million, work has now begun on this new venture, which could possibly lead to a cutting-edge adaptation of Railway Systems around
But what exactly is Crossrail?
Crossrail is a British project to build major new railway connections under central London. When completed, Crossrail will span a mammoth distance of up to 90 miles! Compare that, with the current
average distance travelled by the Tubes of approximately 40 miles. Starting at Maidenhead, Crossrail ‘route #1’ will cover many major locations such as Heathrow, Liverpool Street, Canary Wharf and
Forest Gate, before ending up at Shenfield- 81.9 miles away from the starting point. Prime Minister Gordon Brown officially approved the Crossrail project on 5 October 2007, after a funding deal
-covering the first line- was worked out with various public and private sources. The ‘Crossrail Act’ received the Royal Assent- the legislative grant allowing major projects to be undergone- on 22
July 2008. In late 2008 the final funding agreement, which committed full finance for the project, was signed. However, it was not until 15th May 2009- in Canary Wharf Station- that initial
And as for the cost? Well, Margaret Thatcher’s estimate of £900 million- two decades ago- was a long way off from the predicted figure of £11 Billion, 7 years ago. However, that too is miniscule,
in comparison with today’s figure of £16 BILLION!
The first trains are due to run in 2017, providing there are no delays caused by unexpected legal, construction or financial difficulties- so those of you hoping for an early salvation, I’m afraid
you’ve still got a long wait to endure. 200 metre long trains (with around 10 coaches in each) will run at frequencies of up to 24 trains per hour in each direction during the peak periods through
the central tunnel section. But Crossrail isn’t some sort of independent railway scheme. In fact, preliminary intentions show that Crossrail ticketing will be integrated with the other London
transport systems, such as Buses and Tubes, with Oyster Card ‘Pay As You Go’ being valid on the entire line. Travelcards will also continue to be valid on Crossrail within Greater London. Moreover,
it is expected that Crossrail will incorporated into the standard Tube Map.
In terms of the Technical details, Crossrail is projected to have 13.75 miles of tunneling, with a planned diameter of around 6 metres - compared to the existing 3.8 metres diameter of the deep
Tube lines. Moving on to the trains themselves, 65 new trains are intended to be built for use on Crossrail, with speeds of up to 100 m.p.h on the surface and 60 m.p.h inside the Tunnels. Right,
now that’s the dreary Logos out of the way. But is Crossrail all good news? In my opinion, yes- Crossrail is a phenomenal endeavour, aimed at helping middle-class commuters making their day-to-day
journey, and just generally making travelling much less of a pain in the neck. As ever, there are bound to be kill-joys’ out there, who gain pleasure from ruining advantageous parliamentary
campaigns. And, although I really don’t want to have to do this, I must get their point across too.
A Key figure in sabotaging Crossrail is MP Theresa May. She had formally petitioned against the Crossrail Bill, arguing that substantial improvements should be made to the scheme. Theresa May
“Crossrail has the potential to offer substantial benefits to Maidenhead, allowing commuters to travel directly into the West End of City without changing onto the Underground. However, current
proposals show that it will actually increase the journey time from Maidenhead into Paddington! This is completely unacceptable. The construction of Crossrail will cause a huge amount of
disturbance and the electrification of Brunel’s historic bridge will forever alter the Thames River. The re-development of maidenhead station will reduce the number of car-parking spaces and the
construction process itself will cause great disruption for commuters. For such interference and such a cost to be justifiable, Crossrail needs to demonstrate that they offer substantial benefits
to commuters from Maidenhead. As it stands Crossrail will increase the journey time from Maidenhead to Paddington and this is entirely unacceptable. In lodging this formal petition I have argued
that Crossrail should be modified to run fast and semi-fast trains from Reading into Paddington. I am delighted that our local councillors in Oldfield, Derek Wilson, Dorothy Kemp and Gillian Moore
are also campaigning actively on this issue.”
I personally feel that Crossrail is a beneficial movement and one that will greatly assist commuters, such as myself and the millions of other people out there, and contribute not just for a better
tomorrow, but for a better society on the whole. However, I am fully aware of my opposition and can see where they are coming from.
So, I leave you now with an adaptation of that age-old saying;
“To build or not to build… that is the question”
By, Bharadwaj Chada (Community Correspondent)