As of late, the talk of London town has been the new Crossrail network, due to open in 2018. The route will connect East and West London, serving more than 40 stations and cutting down travel times across the city.

 

Crossrail Route

Image credit: Crossrail

The latest announcement is a bike superhighway which will play the cyclist’s equivalent to the rail route. An east-west route will run from Barking to Acton, while a north-south route will cover King’s Cross to Elephant and Castle. Plans have recently been approved by TfL, and construction is expected to start as early as April.

As with any major construction project in the city, sustainability has been a much-talked-about issue – and one well covered by the project’s creators. As well as easing congestion in the city, the new twin-bore tunnels have been created with a focus on all areas of sustainability: economical, environmental and social.

Crossrail Air View

Image credit: Crossrail

Environmental

Crossrail is starting to control their environmental impact right at its source: with the equipment used to build it. Contractors are required to use diesel engines that emit less PM1o in order to contribute to improved air quality in the capital.

This is supported by the installations of green walls throughout Crossrail sites. These vertical gardens help improve air quality by reducing dust, pollen and carbon dioxide, as well as bringing a touch of welcome greenery to the city.

The project initially announced its aims to achieve an 8% carbon dioxide reduction – which would save roughly 57,000 tonnes of emissions – and the recent 2014 Sustainability Report confirmed that it looks on track to reach this target.

The eco-friendly initiative continues right through construction to the reduction, reuse and recycling of waste. Crossrail aims to reuse or recycle at least 90% of construction and demolition waste, and for at least 95% of excavated material to be reused.

At the end of 2013, these aims appeared to be successful, with 98% of demolition waste and 99% of construction waste reused or recycled, and 99% of clean excavated material beneficially reused.

 

Crossrail Art

Image credit: Crossrail

Economical

The new network is expected to generate £42-billion for the UK economy over its lifetime – resulting in a £17-billion tax boost. {Source: crossrail.co.uk}

Social

Crossrail’s social awareness has begun with the employment of its staff. So far, it has provided jobs for almost 2,800 people, and awarded 97% of contracts to British companies. Its vision has always been to inspire a new generation of school-leavers who are seeking employment in the engineering and construction industry.

Signing up to the Constructing Better Health (CBH) programme, Crossrail aims to deliver better occupational health and safety standards for workers in the construction industry.

It’s also boosting the workforce in other professions, cutting commutes and bringing an extra 1.5-million people within 45-minutes of central London. When finished, the new rail system will increase the rail capacity of London by 10% ­­­- the biggest increase by any single project.

Tunnel Exhibition

Image credit: Crossrail

If you want to find about more about the Crossrail project, visit the London Transport Museum, which will be running an exhibition entitled, “Breakthrough: Crossrail’s Tunnelling Story” until August 2015.

Discover more about London’s rail lines on our London Underground / Tube walking tour, or explore sustainability in the capital on our Cutting-Edge Green tour.