22 Jul, 2014

Crossrail is a 73-mile railway line, currently under construction, to provide a new east-west route across London, connecting parts of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire with Essex and South East London. It is a huge project, one of Europe’s largest, and is due for completion in 2018.

By providing connections across Greater London, for example from Heathrow to Paddington, the West End and Canary Wharf, journey times will be reduced and congestion eased – all great news for people living in or travelling around London.

A key feature of the Crossrail project is the construction of 26 miles of tunnels, which are due for completion at the end of 2014. Industrial Safety Inspections have been heavily involved in inspecting the plant used on the east side section of the underground tunnels. Our reports are being used by Dragados Sisk, who are responsible for the construction of the Eastern Running Tunnels from Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon, Limmo Peninsula to Victoria Dock, and Stepney Green to Pudding Mill Lane.

ISI have also been heavily involved in the frequent statutory inspections at the Chatham docks concrete batching plant, which is where the concrete tunnel sections are moulded. The raw materials of cement and sand are delivered to site via barges, then a cleverly designed 24 hour a day concreting plant produces the hundreds of thousands of concrete sections needed to make the tunnel. Once the concrete curing process has taken effect, the concrete sections are loaded back onto a barge and then transported upstream on the Thames, thereby reducing congestion and pollution and delivering the necessary building materials into the heart of London and the Crossrail project.

This project is, literally, a ground breaking one with numerous problems and unique challenges due to the work being carried out in the centre of London.

The BBC is airing a 3-part documentary “Fifteen Billion Pound Railway” starting 16th July 2014 which will follow the construction work over a period of 2 years and looks at the technical challenges of tunnel construction as well as the impact on local businesses and how this has been managed, as well as the archaeological finds made along the way.

Watch out for some footage of ISI’s professional inspection engineers on a TV near you!

A big thank you to Kevin Moore, our surveyor with the photography skills!