Steelwork erected for new Hitachi train factory
Passengers on the Great West Main Line (GWML) near Heathrow will have noticed a considerable amount of construction over the last 18 months and this reached a crucial stage at the end of May. A 120 metre long steel flyover weighing 1000 tonnes was installed over the GWML as part of Crossrail project. It is the largest single span rail bridge to have been installed anywhere to the west of London since Brunel was building railways.
Crossrail will not only enable passengers to travel from Reading to Essex through London without changing trains, but at the same time relieve the London Underground system as Thameslink has done on a north-south axis. It will become considerably easier and faster to travel between Heathrow and London’s main commercial and financial districts such as the West End, the City and Canary Wharf once the project is complete.
The new flyover is a significant part of the project to ensure that the existing railway is ready for Crossrail trains to serve Heathrow without delaying other services by crossing other tracks. The flyover, at Stockley near Heathrow, will ensure that Crossrail and Heathrow Express services heading towards central London and beyond will be able to join the Great Western Main Line without delaying, or being delayed by other trains on the line.
Two lifting jacks launched the bridge with a force equivalent to that needed to lift 115 London taxis and 20 moveable wheels and special Teflon sheets were also used to help the bridge launch. In five years time, Crossrail will be fully operational linking Heathrow with London’s West End, the City and Canary Wharf with direct fast trains. For example, Heathrow to Bond Street will take just 26 minutes and Canary Wharf will be reached in 40 minutes.
Elle T. // SMC Editor