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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
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|Type||Commuter rail, Suburban rail|
|Locale||South East England
East of England
|Termini||Maidenhead / Heathrow Terminal 4
Shenfield / Abbey Wood
|Owner||TfL (Old Oak to Abbey Wood & Stratford)
Network Rail (other sections)
|No. of tracks||2|
|Track gauge||Standard gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|Electrification||25 kV 50hz AC|
|Operating speed||Below 100 mph (160 km/h)|
Crossrail is a major new railway link being built under central London. The name refers to the first of two routes which are the responsibility of Crossrail Ltd, the other being the proposed Chelsea–Hackney line. It is based on entirely new main-line gauge east-west tunnels from Paddington in the west to beyond Whitechapel in the east. The company Cross London Rail Links (CLRL) (now known as Crossrail Ltd.) was formed in 2001 to deliver the scheme. The project was approved in October 2007, and the Crossrail Act received Royal Assent in July 2008.
Ten-car trains will run at frequencies of up to 24 trains per hour (tph) in each direction through the central tunnel section.
The original plan was that the first trains would run in 2017. In 2010 a Spending Review saving over £1 billion of the £15.9 billion projected costs meant that the first trains are now planned to run on the central section in 2018. It has become Europe's biggest construction project.
The concept of large-diameter railway tunnels crossing central London to connect main-line train services across the capital has its post-war origin in the 1943 County of London Plan and 1944 Greater London Plan by Sir Patrick Abercrombie. These led to a specialist investigation by the Railway (London Plan) Committee, appointed in 1944 and reporting in 1946 and 1948. Route A would have run from Loughborough Junction to Euston, replacing Blackfriars bridge and largely serving the same purpose as today's Thameslink Programme. Route F would have connected Lewisham with Kilburn via Fenchurch Street, Bank, Ludgate Circus, Trafalgar Square, Marble Arch and Marylebone. This was seen as a lower priority than Route A, although another proposal, Route C, was the only one eventually built, as the Victoria line.
The term 'Crossrail' emerged in the 1974 London Rail Study Report by a steering group headed by David Barron set up by the Department of the Environment and Greater London Council to look at future transport needs and strategic plans for London and the South East. The report contained several options for new lines and extensions: the development of the Jubilee Line (Fleet Line) to Fenchurch Street; the Jubilee Line Extension (River Line) project; and the Chelsea-Hackney line. Additionally the re-opening of the Snow Hill Tunnel, and two new deep-level railway lines were proposed:
The 1974 Study estimated that 14,000 passengers would be carried in the peak hour between Paddington and Marble Arch, and 21,000 between Liverpool Street and Ludgate Circus, in the Northern tunnel, which would also carry freight services. Higher estimates were made for the Southern tunnel. It commented that Crossrail would be similar to the RER in Paris and the Hamburg S-Bahn. Reference was also made to through services to Heathrow Airport. Although the idea was seen as imaginative, only a brief estimate of cost was given: £300 million. A feasibility study was recommended as a high priority so that the practicability and costs of the scheme could be determined. It was also suggested that the alignment of the tunnels should be safeguarded while a final decision was taken.
The "Central London Rail Study" (1989) proposed standard (BR) structure gauge tunnels linking the existing rail network; these were the "East-West Crossrail", "City Crossrail", and "North South Crossrail" schemes; the east-west scheme was for a line from Liverpool Street to Paddington/Marylebone. The report also recommended a number of other investment schemes including a "Thameslink Metro" line enhancement, and a new underground Chelsea Hackney line. Cost of the east-west scheme including rolling stock was estimated at £885million.
In 1991 a private Bill was submitted to Parliament for a scheme including a new underground line from Paddington to Liverpool Street stations. The bill was promoted by London Underground and British Rail, and supported by the government; the bill was rejected by the Private Bill Committee in 1994, on the grounds that a case had not been made, though the line route was protected from development that would jeopardise future schemes.
In 2001 Cross London Rail Links (CLRL), a 50/50 joint venture company between Transport for London and the Department of Transport, was formed to develop and promote the scheme, and also a Wimbledon-Hackney scheme. In 2003 and 2004, over 50 days of exhibitions were held to explain the proposals at over 30 different locations.
An alternative more ambitious proposal, named "Superlink", was proposed in 2004, with an estimated cost of £13bn, including additional infrastructure work outside London: in addition to Crossrail's proposed east-west london tunnel, addition lines would connect conurbations outside London, including lines to Cambridge, Ipswich, Southend, Pitsea, Reading, Basingstoke and Northampton. According to the scheme's promoters the line would carry four times as many passengers and requires a lower public subsidy as a result. The proposal was analysed and rejected by crossrail, and failed to receive the backing of the mayor of London (Ken Livingstone) or the department of Transport.
The Crossrail Bill 2005, a Hybrid Bill, went through Parliament. The Crossrail Bill Select Committee met between December 2005 and October 2007. The Select Committee announced an interim decision in July 2006 which called on the Promoter to add a station at Woolwich. The Government initially responded that it would not do so as it would jeopardise the affordability of the whole scheme, but a subsequent agreement has made this possible.
In February 2008 the Bill moved to the House of Lords, where it was amended by a committee of peers. The Act received Royal Assent on 22 July 2008 as the Crossrail Act 2008. The Bill is accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement, plans and other related information. The Act gives Cross London Rail Links the powers necessary to build the line. In November 2008, while announcing an agreement for a £230 million contribution from BAA, Transport Minister Lord Adonis confirmed that funding was still in place despite the global economic downturn. On 4 December 2008 it was announced that Transport for London and the Department for Transport had signed the Crossrail Sponsors' Agreement. This commits them to financing the project, then projected to be £15.9 billion, alongside contributions from Network Rail, BAA and the City of London. The accompanying Crossrail Sponsors' Requirements commits them to the construction of the full scheme.
Gordon Brown, then the Prime Minister, and Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, attended a ceremony at Canary Wharf on 15 May 2009 when construction of the project started. On 7 September 2009, the project received £1 billion in funding. The money is being lent to Transport for London by the European Investment Bank.
In the lead-up to the 2010 UK General Election, both the Labour Party and the Conservative Party made manifesto commitments to deliver the railway. The new Transport Secretary, appointed in May 2010, confirmed that the new coalition government was committed to the project. The original planned schedule was that the first trains would run in 2017. In 2010 a Comprehensive Spending Review identified savings of over £1 billion in projected costs, achieved by a simpler tunnelling strategy to reduce the number of tunnel boring machines and access shafts required. The construction progress will therefore be slower, and the first trains are now planned to run on the central section in 2018.
In April 2009, Crossrail announced that 17 firms had secured 'Enabling Works Framework Agreements' and would now be able to compete for packages of works. At the peak of construction up to 14,000 people are expected to be needed the project's supply chain.
The threat of diseases being released by work on the project was raised by Lord James of Blackheath at the passing of the Crossrail Bill. He told the House of Lords select committee that 682 victims of anthrax had been brought into Smithfield in Farringdon with some contaminated meat in 1520 and then buried in the area. On 24 June 2009 it was reported that no traces of anthrax or bubonic plague had been found on human bone fragments discovered during tunnelling.
Invitations to tender for the two principal tunnelling contracts were published in the Official Journal of the European Union in August 2009. 'Tunnels West' (C300) was for twin 6.2 kilometres (3.9 mi)-long tunnels from Royal Oak through to the new Crossrail Farringdon Station, with a portal west of Paddington. The 'Tunnels East' (C305) request was for three tunnel sections and 'launch chambers' in east London. Contracts were awarded in late 2010; 'Tunnels West' contract was awarded to BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier Construction; the 'Tunnels East' contract was awarded to Dragados and John Sisk & Son. The remaining tunnelling contract (C310, Plumstead to North Woolwich), which included a tunnel under the Thames, was awarded to Hochtief and J. Murphy & Sons in 2011.
By September 2009, preparatory work for the £1 billion developments at Tottenham Court Road station had begun, with a number of buildings (including the Astoria Theatre) being compulsorily purchased and demolished.
In March 2010, contracts were awarded to a number of civil engineering companies for the second round of 'enabling work' including 'Royal Oak Portal Taxi Facility Demolition', 'Demolition works for Crossrail Bond Street Station', 'Demolition works for Crossrail Tottenham Court Road Station' and 'Pudding Mill Lane Portal'. In December 2010, contracts were awarded for most of the tunnelling work.
The first six tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were named in pairs in early 2012 after a public competition; Ada and Phyllis (after Phyllis Pearsall and Ada Lovelace), Victoria and Elizabeth (after British Queens), and Mary and Sophia (after the wives of engineers I.K. Brunel and M.I. Brunel).
The Crossrail line is based on a new set of east-west tunnels under central London connecting the Great Western Main Line near Paddington to the Great Eastern Main Line near Stratford. An eastern branch diverges at Whitechapel, running through Docklands and emerging at Custom House on a disused part of the North London Line, and then under the River Thames to Abbey Wood. Trains will run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. On the Shenfield, Heathrow and Maidenhead routes, Crossrail will take over existing stopping services.
The tunnelled sections will be about 22 kilometres (14 mi) in length.
There are five tunnelled sections, each with an internal diameter of 6 metres (20 ft) (compared with the 3.81 metres (12.5 ft) for the existing deep-tube Victoria line), totalling 21 km in length: a 6.4 km tunnel from Royal Oak to Farringdon; an 8.3 km tunnel from Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon; a 2.7 km tunnel from Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green; a 2.6 km tunnel from Plumstead to North Woolwich (Thames tunnel section); and a 0.9 km tunnel from Limmo Peninsula (Royal Docks) to Victoria Dock portal which will re-use the Pudding Mill-Stepney tunnelling machines. Each section consists of two tunnels 6.2 m in diameter; the twin tunnels are to be excavated at the same time – two TBMs per section. The tunnel linings will be constructed from concrete sections. Tunnelling is expected to progress at around 100 metres per week. The main tunnelling contracts are valued at around £1.5 billion.
The project will use a total of eight 7.1m diameter tunnel-boring machines (TBM) from Herrenknecht AG (Germany); two types of machine are used; 'slurry' type TBMs are to be used for the Thames tunnel which involves tunnelling through chalk, the remainder are 'Earth Pressure Balance Machines' (EPBM), used for tunneling through clay, sand and gravel (at lower levels through Lambeth Group and Thanet Sands ground formation). The TBM's weight approaches 1000 tonnes and are over 100m long. 
The western section is to be built at surface level for the main route running from Maidenhead to Acton Main Line, with an underground spur to Heathrow Airport. The main route will include upgrading all the stations: Maidenhead, Taplow, Burnham, Slough, Langley, Iver, West Drayton, Hayes and Harlington, Southall, Hanwell, West Ealing, Ealing Broadway and Acton Main Line.
The Crossrail route was protected as far as Reading but this is now almost irrelevant as electrification to Reading and beyond is now government policy and should be implemented by the time Crossrail is complete. If Crossrail were to be extended to Reading then both Twyford and Reading stations would be added to Crossrail.
There will be new subterranean stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel and Canary Wharf, each offering interchange with the London Underground, National Rail and/or the Docklands Light Railway. Due to the size and positioning of new platforms required for these stations, some will be directly connected to multiple underground stations.
This section runs underground from Whitechapel as far as Stratford then at surface level for the rest of the route on existing lines. It will include the following stations: Stratford, Maryland, Forest Gate, Manor Park, Ilford, Seven Kings, Goodmayes, Chadwell Heath, Romford, Gidea Park, Harold Wood, Brentwood, and Shenfield.
This section runs underground from Whitechapel to Canary Wharf and then at surface level as far as Abbey Wood. It will pass under the River Thames at North Woolwich and include a new station at Woolwich. It takes over the disused Custom House to North Woolwich via the Connaught tunnel stretch of the North London Line, built by the Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway, and connects it with the North Kent Line.
The following stations are on the protected route extension to Gravesend as of October 2009: Belvedere, Erith, Slade Green, Dartford, Stone Crossing, Greenhithe for Bluewater, Swanscombe, Northfleet, and Gravesend.
On the central segment, between Paddington and Whitechapel, stations will be served by 24 trains per hour (tph) at peak times. To the east, this service splits into 12tph on the Abbey Wood branch and 12tph on the Shenfield branch (supplemented by 6tph national rail service along the Shenfield corridor into Liverpool Street). To the west, the initial plan is for 14tph to terminate at Paddington, but this is under review for the longer term (see "Extensions to Milton Keynes" below). The remaining trains continue with 4tph branching off to Heathrow (supplemented by a further four Heathrow Express trains), 2tph continuing to West Drayton, and 4tph to Maidenhead.
|Other peak services||Other Off-peak services|
|Shenfield branch||12tph||6tph||To Liverpool Street mainline station;
6tph serving all stations except Ilford, Harold Wood, Brentwood and Shenfield
4tph serving only Shenfield
|To Liverpool Street mainline station;
2tph serving Romford and Shenfield
3tph serving only Shenfield
|Abbey Wood branch||12tph||unknown||none||none|
|4tph to Maidenhead
4tph to Heathrow
2tph to West Drayton
|2tph to Maidenhead
4tph to Heathrow
|To Paddington mainline station;
4tph serving Maidenhead only
2tph serving Maidenhead, Slough, Hayes & Harlington and Ealing Broadway
|To Paddington mainline station;
2tph serving Maidenhead, Slough, Hayes & Harlington and Ealing Broadway
However on the Maidenhead branch, between Paddington and West Drayton, not all stations will be equally served:
A full east-west service may not begin until 2019 due to signalling changes on the Great Western Main Line. The projected start-of-service dates are:
Although a 24tph service will be run from opening, the line has been built with redundant capacity to allow for growth. When required, 32tph could operate; combined with provision for two extra cars, this would allow a 30-40% capacity increase for future service increases.
The signalling used on Crossrail will be a mixture of ETCS 2 (on the western branches from 2019), CBTC with ATO on the core and Abbey Wood branch (with a possible later upgrade to ETCS), and AWS with TPWS on the Great Western Main Line and Great Eastern Main Line.
Rather than the fourth-rail electrification used by the London Underground or the third rail on the existing North Kent line, Crossrail will use 25 kV, 50 Hz AC overhead line, as already on the Great Eastern Main Line and on the Great Western Main Line as far as Heathrow. All new lines will be electrified at 25 kV AC 50 Hz, and overhead electrification will be installed between Heathrow Airport junction and Maidenhead.
Crossrail has registered the designation Class 345 for its trains. The requirement is for 60 trains, each 200 m long and carrying up to 1,500 passengers. The trains will be disabled-accessible, including dedicated areas for wheelchairs, with audio and visual announcements, CCTV and speaker phones to the driver in case of emergency. Crossrail has stated that the new trains will be based on existing designs to minimise costs associated with development.
They are intended to run at up to 160 kilometres per hour (100 mph) on the surface and 100 kilometres per hour (60 mph) in the tunnels.[dead link][contradictory] The government's rolling stock plan (2008) expected that the stock for Crossrail would be similar to the new rolling stock procured for the Thameslink Programme and would displace Class 165 DMUs and Class 360/2 EMUs for use elsewhere on the national network.
In March 2011, Crossrail announced that five bidders had been shortlisted to compete for the contract to build the Class 345 and its associated depot. One of the bidders, Alstom, withdrew from the process in July 2011. In February 2012 Crossrail issued an invitation to negotiate to CAF, Siemens, Hitachi and Bombardier, with contract offers expected to be submitted in mid-2012.
Crossrail requires significant work on station infrastructure. Although initially the trains will be 200 metres long, platforms at the 10 new stations in the central core are being built to enable 240-metre-long trains to run in the future in case passenger numbers make this necessary. Similarly, at the existing stations on the route, platforms will be lengthened accordingly.
Maryland and Manor Park will not have platform extensions, so they will use selective door opening instead. For Maryland this is because of the prohibitive cost of extensions and the poor business case, and for Manor Park it is due to a freight loop that would otherwise be cut off.
A mock-up of the new stations has been built in Bedfordshire to ensure that their architectural integrity would last for a century. It is planned to bring at least one mock-up to London for the public to try out the design and give feedback before final construction takes place.
Of the 37 stations, 28 will have step-free access to both platforms; in particular, train doors will be level with the platforms at central stations and at Heathrow. The stations will be fully equipped with CCTV and, due to the length of the platforms, train indicators will be above the platform-edge doors in central stations.
Crossrail ticketing is intended to be integrated with the other London transport systems, and Oyster Card Pay As You Go will be valid on the entire line. Travelcards will be valid within Greater London with the exception of the Heathrow branch, which will continue to be subject to special fares. Crossrail has often been compared to Paris's RER system due to the length of the central tunnel. Crossrail will be integrated with the London Underground and National Rail networks, and it is planned to include it on the standard London Underground Map.
As part of the former Labour government's plans for the High Speed 2 rail link from London to Birmingham, a new Crossrail-High Speed 2 interchange would be built at Old Oak Common (between Paddington and Acton Main Line stations). This would be built as part of High Speed 2 (which would start construction, under Labour's plans, in 2017), so would not be built in the first phase of Crossrail. It would provide interchange to other mainline and TfL lines. Despite their previous opposition to the idea, the succeeding Conservative-Liberal Democrat government adopted that proposal in the plans it put forward for public consultation. This means it is likely to go forward as part of High Speed 2, potentially giving Crossrail an interchange with High Speed 2, the Great Western Main Line (GWML), Central line and London Overground services running through the area.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is pushing for an additional Crossrail station in the north of the Borough, east of Old Oak Common, at Kensal off Ladbroke Grove and Canal Way. A turn-back facility will have to be built not far west of Paddington anyway, and siting it at Kensal, rather than next to Paddington itself, would provide a frequent service to the new station, helping to regenerate the area. Mayor Boris Johnson stated that a station would be added if it met three tests: it must not delay construction of Crossrail; it must not compromise performance of Crossrail or any other railway; and it must not increase Crossrail's overall cost. In response, Kensington and Chelsea Council agreed to underwrite the projected £33 million cost of a Crossrail station, to the extent that section 106 payments from the promoters of property developments expected near the station do not reach this sum. The Council also funded a consultancy study which concluded that in many scenarios a Kensal station would not compromise Crossrail performance. TfL is conducting a feasibility study on the station. The project is supported by local MPs, the residents of the Borough, National Grid, retailers Sainsbury's and Cath Kidston, and Jenny Jones (Green Party member of the London Assembly). It is also supported by the adjoining London Borough of Brent.
Crossrail takes over the old North London Line (NLL) alignment east of Custom House. On the south side of the docks there used to be a station at Silvertown. This is being demolished, but there will be passive provision for a potential new station slightly to the east. This would serve London City Airport (now served only by London City Airport DLR station), and construction will be considered after local development. There is no provision for it in the Crossrail Act, and it will not be part of the initial construction. For now it is considered that the DLR provides adequate service to the areas served by the former Silvertown and North Woolwich NLL stations. The DLR service is more frequent than the former NLL service to North Woolwich.
The Great Western Electrification project, announced in July 2009, will complement the Crossrail project and provide electrification for the Great Western Main Line westwards from Maidenhead to Reading and beyond. The UK Government and Transport for London are now considering whether to extend Crossrail services from Maidenhead to Reading from the outset.
Extending Crossrail to Reading looks more attractive now that the government has confirmed that the GWML will be electrified to Cardiff in Wales, and possibly beyond, as planned by the previous government. This proposal is now recommended by Network Rail's Route Utilisation Strategy.
The route to Gravesend has been safeguarded by the Department for Transport, although it was made clear that as at February 2008 there was no plan to extend Crossrail beyond the then-current scheme.
Network Rail's July 2011 London & South East Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) recommended diverting the slow lines of the West Coast Main Line (WCML) up to Milton Keynes away from Euston on to Crossrail via Old Oak Common to free up capacity at Euston for High Speed 2. This would provide a direct service from WCML stations to the West End, Canary Wharf and other key destinations, release London Underground capacity at Euston, make better use of Crossrail's capacity west of Paddington, and improve access to Heathrow Airport from the North. Under this scheme, all Crossrail trains would continue west of Paddington, instead of some of them terminating there. They would serve Heathrow Airport (10 trains per hour), stations to Maidenhead and Reading (6 tph), and stations to Milton Keynes (8 tph).
Network Rail's RUS also proposes integrating Heathrow Express into Crossrail to relieve the GWML and reduce the need for passengers to change at Paddington.
Cross London Rail Links Ltd has inherited London Underground's aborted "Chelsea-Hackney Line" plans, sometimes also referred to as "Merton-Hackney". A route for this has been safeguarded since 1991, and a 2007 consultation to renew the safeguarding gives the following route:
This line is known as the Chelsea – Hackney line and will not be built until after Crossrail 1 and probably also High Speed 2, which itself will probably not begin construction until after Crossrail 1 is completed. It has yet to be decided whether it will be built to National Rail (like Crossrail) or London Underground standards; however, the route safeguarding provides for the former.
Crossrail 3, backed by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, and incumbent Boris Johnson, would include a 4-kilometre underground section in new tunnels connecting Euston and Waterloo, connecting the West Coast Main Line corridor with a variety of services to the south. However, Crossrail 3 is an unofficial proposal and not within the remit of Cross London Rail Links Ltd (and as a result, is not safeguarded as Crossrail 2 is).
Crossrail will be built by Crossrail Limited, jointly owned by Transport for London and the Department for Transport until December 2008, when full ownership was transferred to TfL. Crossrail has a £15.9 billion funding package in place for the construction of the line. Although the branch lines to the west and to Shenfield will still be owned by Network Rail, the tunnel will be owned and operated by TfL.
Once built, it is intended that Crossrail be operated as a concession let by TfL London Rail, like London Overground. It is planned to initially let the franchise for 7 years from 2014, taking over control of Shenfield metro services from Greater Anglia and then the Maidenhead / Heathrow services from First Great Western in 2016.
In anticipation of a April 2015 transfer of Shenfield to Liverpool Street services from the Greater Anglia franchise to the new Crossrail concession, the invitation to tender for the 2012-2013 Greater Anglian franchise requires the new rail operator to set up a separate "Crossrail Business Unit" for those services before the end of 2012. This separate unit would allow transfer of services to the new Crossrail Train Operating Concession (CTOC) operator during the next franchise, or if the 2012-2013 franchise implements the optional 1-year extension. The scope of the franchise may include, in addition to the main Shenfield-Liverpool Street services, additional peak services terminating at Liverpool Street main line and the Romford to Upminster shuttle.
Some East London politicians objected to the scheme, which they saw as an expensive west-to-east commuter service that will primarily benefit City and Docklands businesses and bring much disruption to East London. As a result, the tunnelling strategy was changed to remove excavated material by barge from Leamouth rather than the originally proposed complex conveyor system in Mile End.
Some freight-train operators, including the former English, Welsh and Scottish Railway Ltd (EWS), opposed the current plan because, they claimed, it would use up much of the remaining rail capacity within the London area and not provide the necessary extra capacity on connecting lines. This would make it harder to route freight services from the southern ports to the north and would increase freight transit times.
There had been complaints from music fans, as the redevelopment of the area forced the closure of a number of historic music venues. The London Astoria, the Astoria 2, The Metro, Sin nightclub and The Ghetto have been demolished to allow expansion of the ticket hall and congestion relief at Tottenham Court Road tube station in advance of the arrival of Crossrail.
There was considerable annoyance in Reading that Crossrail would terminate at Maidenhead, not Reading. However, the promoters and the government had always stressed that there was nothing to prevent extension to Reading in future if it could be justified. In February 2008 it was announced that the route for an extension to Reading was being safeguarded. This has become more likely now that the government has announced that the Great Western Main Line will be electrified beyond Reading in any event.
In February 2010, Crossrail was accused of bullying residents whose property lay on the Crossrail route into selling for less than the market value. A subsequent London Assembly report was highly critical of the insensitive way in which Crossrail had dealt with compulsory purchases and the lack of assistance given to the people and businesses affected.
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