The first tracks of a £14.8bn rail network have been laid in Abbey Wood.

Work has begun to install the tracks for Crossrail, which will call at Woolwich and Abbey Wood.

The two mile section of track between the Crossrail tunnel portal at Plumstead and Abbey Wood station is now half complete.

Crossrail surface director Matthew White said: "Crossrail will help transform Abbey Wood, providing a steep change in public transport and encouraging investment and development in the local area.

"At peak time, 12 Crossrail trains an hour will make it significantly quicker and easier to get to a range of destinations across London and the South East."

More than a mile of new track has been laid by Network Rail, representing the first section of dedicated Crossrail track to be installed anywhere along the route.

The Crossrail route will pass through 40 stations and run more than 100km from Reading to Heathrow.

Work has included the realignment of the existing North Kent line, which serves trains between London and Kent, and the replacement of the Church Manor Way footbridge.

Ahead of Crossrail services beginning in 2018, tracks will now be used to support the new tunnels to create a fully functioning railway beneath the streets of London.

Network Rail Crossrail programme director Matthew Steele said: "Completing this section of track on time is important because it means Crossrail can get on with the job of fitting out the new tunnels.

"Once fully open in 2018, the new tracks will link Abbey Wood to the rest of London like never before, providing local people with a dramatically improved rail service."

From 2018 there will be a train every five minutes during peak times from Abbey Wood and Woolwich, allowing residents to travel through the capital without having to change to trains.

The journey from Abbey Wood to Canary Wharf and Bond Street will be 20 minutes quicker and passengers travelling to Heathrow will be able to cut 40 minutes off their journey.

The brand new Crossrail station at Abbey Wood will also be connected to North Kent lines.

A new station will also be built in Woolwich, with two portals at North Woolwich and Plumstead where Crossrail trains will surface.

Crossrail are also creating a major new residential development at the sight.

Armourer's Court will contain nearly 400 new homes, aiming to return funds to the Crossrail budget and regenerate the area.