Rail minister checks up on Crossrail’s Canary Wharf site

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers visited Crossrail’s massive Canary Wharf station construction site today, exactly two years after work began.

She came to East London to see the progress and witness the last of the soil being removed from the platform level 80ft below ground, where trains will run when London’s �17 billion ‘super tube’ opens in 2018.

“This is a major milestone in building one of the most exciting transport projects in London,” she said. “It will transform journeys of thousands of passengers.”

The station being built ‘top down’ extends 80ft below Canary Wharf’s North Dock, with the ticket hall and platform levels already excavated.

Construction has involved 1,000 piles, 100 million litres of water being removed from the dock, 300,000 tonnes of soil excavated and almost 375,000 tonnes of concrete poured in.

The complex will be the same size as nearby One Canada Square, Britain’s tallest office tower, laid on its side.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who switched the machine on to drive the first pile into the ground when construction began at Canary Wharf in May, 2009, said: “A huge subterranean chamber has been created deep under Canary Wharf that will throng with Londoners when Crossrail is up and running.”

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The time it takes getting across town will drastically reduce when Crossrail opens in 2018, with 24 trains an hour between Whitechapel and Paddington during peak times and on to Heathrow, carrying 200 million passengers year.

Journey times from Canary Wharf: Liverpool Street in six minutes, Bond Street 13, Ealing Broadway 24, Heathrow 39 and Abbey Wood 11.