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Crossrail here we come

As a holiday treat, travel through some key stations on what will be the Elizabeth Line, ahead of its opening in December 2018

Paddington by Weston Williamson - showpiece for the line.
Paddington by Weston Williamson - showpiece for the line.

As a little diversion this long weekend, we offer a journey through images of what the key 14 new stations on Crossrail will look like once this high-capacity express metro opens in December 2018 as the Elizabeth Line. So significant is this line that it alone will add 10 per cent to the passenger carrying capability of the capital’s network. It will transform the way we  move around and through the city.

Of course there are far more than 14 stations overall. In fact there will be 40 once the 73-mile line is fully open: it runs all the way from Reading in the east to Shenfield in Essex in the west, plus branches to Heathrow Airport in the west and Abbey Wood (for Thamesmead) in the south-east. But many of these stations are already there on existing lines and will receive relatively minor adaptations for the new Derby-built, 200m long, nine-carriage 1,500-passenger capacity Class 345 commuter trains. Like much longer platforms, for instance. In the underground central zone, this length is used to make several of the stations effectively into two.  Liverpool Street will have a second entrance at Moorgate, Farringdon at the Barbican, Tottenham Court Road in Soho, and Bond Street in Hanover Square. 

Hayes and Harlington station by Bennetts Associates.
Hayes and Harlington station by Bennetts Associates.

It’s the all-new section running from Paddington to Abbey Wood that is due to open at the end of 2018, with the stretch out to Essex joining it in May 2019 and the final section out along the Great Western to Reading in December 2019.

Here we concentrate mostly on the new and radically upgraded stations running eastwards from the western suburbs, diving underground at Paddington, briefly emerging on the surface at Custom House, dropping under the Thames to Woolwich and then terminating on the surface at Abbey Wood.  And for good measure we add a generic station showing the common elements that you will encounter at platform level in all the tunnelled stations. Enjoy the ride!

  • Hayes and Harlington by Bennetts Associates - the other end.
    Hayes and Harlington by Bennetts Associates - the other end.
  • Ealing Broadway station gets the Crossrail upgrade from Bennetts.
    Ealing Broadway station gets the Crossrail upgrade from Bennetts.
  • Ealing Broadway will have a lot more civic presence after the Bennetts revamp.
    Ealing Broadway will have a lot more civic presence after the Bennetts revamp.
  • Platform level at Weston Williamson's Paddington.
    Platform level at Weston Williamson's Paddington.
  • The common components of the mined central area stations by Atkins/Grimshaw.
    The common components of the mined central area stations by Atkins/Grimshaw.
  • Platform edge screen, central sections. Note absence of visual clutter.
    Platform edge screen, central sections. Note absence of visual clutter.
  • McAslan's Davies Street entrance to Bond Street station.
    McAslan's Davies Street entrance to Bond Street station.
  • Descent from McAslan's Bond Street ticket hall.
    Descent from McAslan's Bond Street ticket hall.
  • Hawkins Brown entrance and oversite building at the Soho end of Tottenham Court Road station.
    Hawkins Brown entrance and oversite building at the Soho end of Tottenham Court Road station.
  • St. Giles Circus ticket hall at Tottenham Court Road by Hawkins\Brown.
    St. Giles Circus ticket hall at Tottenham Court Road by Hawkins\Brown.
  • Farringdon features a diamond lattice structure. Architect Aedas.
    Farringdon features a diamond lattice structure. Architect Aedas.
  • Farringdon goes a bit brutalist at its Smithfield Barbican facing end.
    Farringdon goes a bit brutalist at its Smithfield Barbican facing end.
  • Hayes and Harlington: architect Bennetts Associates. New enlarged ticket hall, footbridge and plaza for this existing above-ground station.
  • Ealing Broadway: also by Bennetts, this doubles the size of the present poky station entrance with a long, curved canopy.
  • Paddington: architect Weston Williamson. This subterranean box structure will be one of the showpieces of the line, built alongside Brunel’s Great Western terminus and plugging into it underground via a huge sunken ticket hall filled with natural light.
  • Common platform-level components: architects Atkins and Grimshaw with industrial and lighting designers GIA Equation and Maynard. Many elements like signage and seating are common to the entire line but in the ‘mined’ stations of the central section the tunnel cladding, flooring and platform-edge screens are vital to the overall feel.
  • Bond Street: architect John McAslan + Partners. Two modern-classical above-ground ticket halls in Hanover Square and Davies Street.  (There is no such street as Bond Street though there is a New Bond Street nearby).
  • Tottenham Court Road: architect Hawkins\Brown, plaza entrance canopies by Stanton Williams. A massive Tube interchange, much of it already in use. Main ticket  hall six times the size of the old one. The station runs right beneath Soho Square  to a ‘dark and cinematic’ western ticket hall in Soho.
  • Farringdon: architect Aedas. A bit glitzy, with diamond structural-concrete forms  at the western end to reflect nearby Hatton Garden, it turns appropriately to a more brutalist aesthetic at its Barbican end.
  • Liverpool Street Moorgate ticket hall by Wilkinson Eyre.
    Liverpool Street Moorgate ticket hall by Wilkinson Eyre.
  • The great descent at Liverpool Street.
    The great descent at Liverpool Street.
  • Whitechapel from the Overground platforms below. Architect BDP.
    Whitechapel from the Overground platforms below. Architect BDP.
  • Whitechapel by BDP - the new upper concourse for Crossrail.
    Whitechapel by BDP - the new upper concourse for Crossrail.
  • Ilford by Atkins on the revamped line out into Essex.
    Ilford by Atkins on the revamped line out into Essex.
  • No need for a CGI chaps, this actually exists. Foster did the oversite development at Canary Wharf.
    No need for a CGI chaps, this actually exists. Foster did the oversite development at Canary Wharf.
  • Down below, the completed Canary Wharf station by Tony Meadows and Adamson Associates awaits its first passengers.
    Down below, the completed Canary Wharf station by Tony Meadows and Adamson Associates awaits its first passengers.
  • Custom House by Allies and Morrison, clean cut precast.
    Custom House by Allies and Morrison, clean cut precast.
  • Elevated concourse at Custom House by Allies and Morrison.
    Elevated concourse at Custom House by Allies and Morrison.
  • At Woolwich by Weston Williamson you emerge onto a green.
    At Woolwich by Weston Williamson you emerge onto a green.
  • Woolwich ticket hall is a class act by Weston Williamson.
    Woolwich ticket hall is a class act by Weston Williamson.
  • The manta ray shape of Abbey Wood station by Fereday Pollard. The south-eastern terminus.
    The manta ray shape of Abbey Wood station by Fereday Pollard. The south-eastern terminus.
  • Inside the Abbey Wood manta ray by Fereday Pollard - a rather good timber roof is promised. And that is the end of the line.
    Inside the Abbey Wood manta ray by Fereday Pollard - a rather good timber roof is promised. And that is the end of the line.
  • Where you will be travelling - the Elizabeth Line from December 2018.
    Where you will be travelling - the Elizabeth Line from December 2018.
  • Liverpool Street: architect Wilkinson Eyre. One of the trickiest to build, due to all the existing stuff in the ground round there, from the 4,000 skeletons of the Bedlam burial site to a maze of sewers, tube lines and the Post Office railway. Secondary entrance at Moorgate. Shallow folded-plate geometry used for ceilings.
  • Whitechapel: architect BDP. A complex upgrade of an existing station, this places a large new ticket hall on a new bridge concourse perched above the existing sunken Victorian lines.
  • Ilford: architect Atkins. Nothing very noteworthy here, but an example of the improvements on the existing upgraded line out through Essex. Larger ticket hall designed to stand out.
  • Canary Wharf: architects Foster and Partners (oversite development), Tony Meadows Associates and Adamson Associates. Sitting in a dock, this is already finished – the Foster retail/entertainment complex with its roof garden above in use, the box-structure station way below water level waiting for its first trains.
  • Custom House: architect Allies and Morrison. A unique response to a very tight site, this is made of precast concrete components, the concourse elevated above the tracks. It has an 18° skew that is carried through in all the details.
  • Woolwich: architect Weston Williamson. The box-structure station emerges beneath enormous new apartment blocks built on the old military Arsenal site. A classy portal structure brings you out onto a new green square.
  • Abbey Wood: architect Fereday Pollard. The all new south-eastern terminus, though it will be added  to an existing commuter through-line. Like a huge manta ray, the station mediates between a road flyover bridge and the civic realm below. 

Hugh Pearman’s book Platform for Design, looking in detail at the architecture and design of Crossrail, is available from RIBA bookshops for a very reasonable £9.99.