Crossrail works successfully delivered by Network Rail over Christmas: Trackwork at Maidenhead 256443

Tuesday 3 Jan 2017

Crossrail works successfully delivered by Network Rail over Christmas

South East

In the biggest single engineering operation ever mounted by Network Rail for the Crossrail project, major works were completed to the existing railway in outer London, Berkshire and Essex with over 4,000 workers delivering improvements over Christmas

  • Works will allow for the introduction of more electric Great Western Railway (GWR) services and help to prepare for the arrival of the Elizabeth line
  • Final stage of huge Stockley Flyover opens; new diveunder at Acton opens



In the biggest single engineering operation ever mounted by Network Rail for the Crossrail project, major works were completed to the existing railway in outer London, Berkshire and Essex.

More than 4,000 workers were out on the railway over the ten-day Christmas period carrying out more than 330,000 hours of carefully planned work which will ultimately integrate the new tunnels beneath London with the existing rail network. This is vital as three quarters of the route – which will be known as the Elizabeth line from 2018 – will run above ground in outer London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex, bringing 1.5 million more people within 45 minutes of central London.

Many elements of Network Rail’s Christmas work are not only critical for the delivery of the Crossrail project but will also deliver immediate benefits for passengers. The upgrade work that was delivered includes: 

  • Opening the second ramp of the Stockley Flyover at Heathrow junction and a new diveunder at Acton. These major new structures have been built as part of the Crossrail project but will be used by GWR and Heathrow Express trains, adding capacity and improving reliability on this busy section of the Great Western Main Line.
  • Opening the bay platform at Hayes & Harlington, which will allow GWR to bring in even more new electric trains, increasing frequency between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington to a half-hourly service.
  • Upgrading and remodelling the track at Maidenhead. This included the installation of 11 new sets of points and continued work to electrify the railway between Maidenhead and Heathrow junction that will allow for the introduction of new electric trains.
  • Platform extensions at a number of locations including West Ealing, Southall and Hayes & Harlington stations in order to accommodate the longer GWR and Elizabeth line trains.
  • Major improvements to the railway in Essex, to pave the way for the introduction of new, quieter, more reliable electric trains for TfL Rail passengers from 2017. These improvements include major remodelling of the track and sidings at both ends of Shenfield station and building a new platform for future Elizabeth line services.

Matthew Steele, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail, said: “Successful completion of these Christmas works was vital to delivering the Elizabeth line. As part of our Railway Upgrade Plan they will benefit passengers by improving reliability, increasing the capacity of the rail network and enabling the introduction of new rolling stock. I would like to thank passengers and our lineside neighbours for their patience whilst we carried out our work over the festive period.”

Matthew White, Surface Director at Crossrail said: “The Elizabeth line will provide a step change in public transport for many thousands of people in outer London, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Essex – new trains, quicker journeys and better stations. The programme of work delivered by Network Rail over Christmas will provide immediate benefits for passengers as well as helping to prepare for the arrival of the new Elizabeth line services.”

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said: “The Thames Valley is one of the most popular rail corridors in the UK. We have promised the current fleet would be upgraded to provide much needed additional capacity and faster journey times.

“We started to run our first new electric trains in September and with this Christmas work completed, on time, I am delighted to say that we can now deliver even more of those improvements – with a half hourly services between London Paddington and Hayes & Harlington. The new trains will deliver consistent, high quality travel for customers across the Thames Valley, offering at-seat power sockets, air conditioning, extra luggage space and free WiFi for customers.”

Key facts and figures

  • £45m programme of work
  • Over 4,000 staff worked more than 330,000 hours
  • 19 different sites on the rail network across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, outer London and Essex
  • 75 engineering trains used
  • Nearly 6km of new track, 35 new points and 79 signals commissioned into service
  • Two new major structures brought into service – Stockley Flyover and Acton Diveunder

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Richard Griffiths
Network Rail
07734 649189

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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