Infrastructure Projects, Crossrail & The Legacy of Major Rail

Infrastructure Projects, Crossrail & The Legacy of Major Rail

The design and construction of Crossrail have drawn on the expertise of a number of architectural and engineering disciplines for Infrastructure Projects.

The design and delivery of the tunnels, shafts, portals and station boxes have utilised the skills of architects, civil, structural, geotechnical and mining engineers, and project managers. Also, the subsequent station and tunnel fit-outs have seen a greater involvement from the electrical, mechanical, building services and rail systems disciplines. Even more in the future, the operational railway will see the involvement of yet more engineering and technical skills.

Architects have been employed at all levels of the programme:

  • By the client team under the auspices of the Chief Engineer’s Group, and
  • within the design consultants,
  • the programme delivery team
  • and contracting organisations.

The client has been particularly active as a “guiding mind” in design leadership. As a consequence, this has ensured quality and efficiency of the design. Also, it has provided supervision of the subsequent construction work. In fact, this confirmed that the principles of self-assurance have demonstrated adherence to the design as well as conforming to the appropriate standards. This leadership has ensured that Crossrail’s safety case has been built progressively through all stages of design and construction.

As is typical of dynamic programmes such as Crossrail, architects and engineers at all levels of the organisation have had to operate in a very flexible and responsive manner. This means responding to change positively and effectively. This change could be driven by unexpected site conditions or changing requirements.

Infrastructure Projects, Crossrail & The Legacy of Major Rail

At the current stage of Crossrail, much of our Learning Legacy focuses on the architectural, civil and underground construction aspects of the stations and tunnels.

Key lessons from these aspects relate to

    • tunnelling and excavation related ground movements
    • and their impacts on the built environment,
    • cradle to grave material usage,
    • bomb-resistant construction,
    • the performance of tunnel boring machines (TBMs),

Crossrail’s design functions together established the Crossrail Technical Papers Competition which ran annually.

It received papers on a range of architectural, engineering and technical disciplines. In fact, it was open to all organisations currently or previously involved in the project. This includes designers, contractors, joint ventures and those working for Crossrail Limited. You can find all of the papers in the Learning Legacy.

 The Elizabeth line will have 10 new stations in Central London and southeast London.

In underground spaces, from station platforms to the top of the escalators, the architectural forms and materials will be recognisably consistent. As a result, this will give passengers a sense of familiarity right across the route. As passengers move upwards, into the ticket halls and surrounding streetscape, each new station will have its own, distinct character. This will reflect the environment and heritage of the local area. Also, the stations have been designed to create accessible, safe and comfortable spaces that people can move through easily and efficiently.

Infrastructure Projects, Crossrail & The Legacy of Major Rail

Designed for growth:

Multiple entrances and ticket halls, more space below ground and straightforward access to the rest of the transport network will ensure that Elizabeth line stations feel spacious. Also, they will be easy to navigate and can cater for future growth in passenger numbers. The platforms can accommodate the new 200-metre long train as well as longer rolling stock in the future.


Social, economic and environmental impacts have been an important consideration throughout design and construction. Builders have beneficially reused material from excavations. Low-energy lighting will feature in stations and tunnels. Also, state-of-the-art lightweight energy efficient rolling stock will carry large numbers of passengers.

At SpaceShapers, we have worked on many complex rail and infrastructure design projects. As a consequence, we can assist with effective project planning and management: PROJECT MANAGEMENT as well as architectural and low energy design services.

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