AFTER 400,000 man hours, Woolwich's Crossrail station box has finally been completed.

The 256 metre station box, which is so long that Canary Wharf's One Canada Square could lay on its side within it, was built by Berkeley Homes. The eastern end will be handed over to Crossrail early next month.

Crossrail says the box - at the Royal Arsenal Riverside development - will act as an important staging post for the two 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines, Sophia and Mary, that are digging twin bore tunnels from Plumstead underneath the Thames to North Woolwich.

When Crossrail opens, up to 12 trains per hour during the peak will link south east London and the Royal Docks with Canary Wharf, central London and beyond.

Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme said: "Berkeley Homes has completed the station box at Woolwich ahead of schedule, allowing Crossrail to get the site ready for the arrival of our thousand tonne tunnelling machine this spring.

"The benefits of Crossrail for south east London will be significant – new journey opportunities, reduced journey times, direct access to London’s major employment centres as well as supporting wider regeneration."

To celebrate the completion of the box, Berkeley Homes will be holding an open day on February 27 from 3pm to 5pm, offering a chance to step inside the cavernous construction.

In addition, a charity fun run will be held within the box, raising money for children's hospice charity Demelza.

Berkeley Homes will begin the planned construction of 585 homes on the site later this year.

However, there is no sign yet of an agreement over the cost of fitting out the station, with discussions between the Department for Transport, Greenwich Council, Berkeley Homes and Transport for London still ongoing.

To register for the open day email