This is the official press release from Canary Wharf group
Construction of Crossrail begins as foundations laid for new Canary Wharf station
Mayor and Prime Minister joined by UK business leaders as Europe’s largest construction project gets underway
Crossrail, London’s first new major railway in a generation, reached a landmark moment today as the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the Prime Minister Gordon Brown marked the start of construction of Crossrail at a breakfast briefing with UK business leaders.
The Mayor was then joined by Transport Minister Andrew Adonis, London’s Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy, Crossrail Chairman Douglas Oakervee and Canary Wharf Group Chief Executive George Iacobescu to launch the first of nearly three hundred 18.5 metre tall steel piles that will form the basis of the new station. The new station will be built in North Dock between Canary Wharf and North Quay and when complete will be one of the largest on the Crossrail network.
The renamed Canary Wharf station will be the first Crossrail station to be constructed, and includes plans for 100,000 square feet of retail space and a roof-top park. Crossrail services will begin operating from 2017 cutting journey times across London allowing travel from Canary Wharf to Liverpool Street in 7 minutes, Paddington in 17 minutes and Heathrow in 44 minutes.
The formal start of construction signals the intensification of work on Crossrail and follows the confirmation of major funding agreements with BAA, Canary Wharf Group and the Corporation of London, the appointments of the new Chief Executive and Chairman of Crossrail and the appointment of the main contractors who will oversee the overall project delivery including design, tunnelling and construction.
The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown said: “Many people said it would never be built, but today we are celebrating a defining moment for London as Crossrail’s construction gets underway.
“Crossrail will not only mean faster journey times across the capital and beyond, it will also bring a massive economic boost to the city, creating thousands of jobs and adding at least £20 billion to our economy.
“Investment into important projects like Crossrail, the largest construction project in Europe, is vital to create and protect jobs as well as supporting businesses, so that we can grow our way out of recession and ensure a strong future for London and the country as a whole.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “The years of hesitation, irresolution and vacillation are over, the shovels have tasted earth and the construction of a railway that is crucial to the economic prosperity of this great city has begun.
“This amazing project will create and support thousands of jobs, relieve congestion and provide a high speed link between east and west of London. When the first of Crossrail’s chariots glide smoothly along its lines in 2017 it will change the face of transport in London and the South East forever.”
Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and will employ some 14,000 people at its peak, providing a crucial boost to London and the UK’s economy. Another 7,000 jobs will be supported indirectly through project support services through items such as manufacturing equipment.
The vast majority of these jobs will be undertaken by people in London and the UK, particularly those living in boroughs along the Crossrail route which are some of the most deprived in the UK, and creating a lasting skills legacy for London. As a beginning, a Crossrail Tunnelling Academy will open in Newham in spring 2010 to train some 1,000 people up to 2015, providing the skills necessary for work in a variety of tunnelling roles.
Crossrail will run for 118km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west through 21.5km of new twin bore tunnels through central London and on to Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Woolwich, Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east. The new railway will bring 1.5 million people within 60 minutes’ commute of London’s major business districts with over 200 million passengers expected to use the railway in its first year of operation.
Canary Wharf Group Chief Executive George Iacobescu said: “Today London starts work on one of the great civil engineering projects in its history. Canary Wharf Group is proud to be playing its part, not just by helping to fund the project, but by taking on the responsibility of building the Canary Wharf Crossrail station as well. It’s true that times are hard right now but Canary Wharf still expects to see growth return long before Crossrail is completed. Today we have 93,000 people working here. In the future it is expected that this will more than double. So this project is not just about anticipating future transport demand it is also about London catching up with the demand which is already there.”
London’s Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy said: “Crossrail will deliver a huge capacity boost as part of a multi billion pound investment to improve and expand the capital’s transport network. When it is completed in 2017, the new railway will play a key role in relieving congestion on the Tube and extending access to key retail and business centres to passengers from all over London and across the South of England.
“Alongside Crossrail we remain strongly committed to upgrading the Underground, and other major projects that will deliver better services for our passengers between now and 2017, including the extension of the DLR network, the East and North London Lines and London Overground. All are vital for London’s economy.”
Crossrail Chairman Douglas Oakervee said: “The priority for Crossrail is to deliver this project on time and within budget. Following approval of the Crossrail Act last summer, the project has made significant progress with funding and governance agreements finalised and the appointment of the contractors for the key Programme Partner and Project Delivery Partner contracts. Today marks the beginning of the next stage.”