Spotlight on Christmas 2017: Crossrail Project

This Christmas (Saturday 23 December 2017 to Monday 1 January 2018 inclusive), we will be working to deliver 260 projects on the rail network across Britain as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan.

The work we’re doing will provide more and faster services to help relieve over-crowding on the railway. Passenger numbers have doubled since 1996, and continue to grow. Every day, people take more than 4.6 million journeys to work, study or visit friends and family. Together, the rail industry is working to meet the challenges and improve journeys across the country.

We plan our larger work projects over bank holidays as they’re generally quiet periods, with fewer passengers travelling by rail – find out more here about why we plan work for bank holidays.

If you’re travelling over the bank holiday, please remember to check your journey plans on National Rail Enquiries, as there will be changes to rail services in some areas.


What’s the Crossrail Project?

Crossrail is a very important and exciting project for rail users in and around London and the South East, and is the biggest civil construction project in Europe today.

Crossrail, Network Rail and Transport for London are working together as the Crossrail Project to prepare for the phased opening of the Elizabeth line. Network Rail is responsible for the design, development and delivery of the parts of the route that are on the existing network, running above ground through outer London, Berkshire and Essex. There are 10 new stations being built, and 30 more being upgraded, while new and existing infrastructure is integrated.

Once fully open in 2019, the Elizabeth line will travel from Reading and Heathrow in the West to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East, through 42 kilometres of tunnels under central London. It will link Heathrow, the West End, the City of London and Canary Wharf.

What are the benefits for passengers?

The Elizabeth line will increase London’s rail transport capacity by 10 per cent, cut passenger journey times across the city and bring an extra 1.5 million people within 45 minutes of the heart of London. It will also encourage regeneration and generate significant employment opportunities.

When the Elizabeth line launches in December 2018 it will bring:

  • better connections and reduced journey times across London and the South East
  • enhanced ticket halls
  • step-free access from platform to the street
  • new public space and developments, with shops, offices and residential space
  • a fleet of new air-conditioned trains
  • improved real-time information.

New trains have already begun running from London Liverpool Street to Shenfield and will continue to be introduced over the coming months, with new trains operating in the West from May 2018.

What’s happening on the Crossrail Project over Christmas?

This Christmas, we are completing the largest, most complex signalling upgrade ever undertaken on the three mile approach to London Paddington. Advanced works will also take place on some of the enhanced stations in the West, meaning services into London Paddington will terminate at Slough between Sunday 24 and Wednesday 27 December.

Work will also continue to upgrade stations in the East, affecting travel in and out of London Liverpool Street on the Great Eastern mainline to Norwich. As part of this, overhead line renewals are taking place on the route. Read more about these on our Christmas railway improvement work web page.

Passengers are advised to check changes to services before travelling.          

Did you know?

Crossrail is best known as a major tunnelling project, but 75 per cent of the 100km route is above ground.

Find out more

Crossrail Project – includes an informative map of the above ground Crossrail works

Christmas railway improvement work 2017

Railway Upgrade Plan – how we’re providing more capacity on the rail network and relieving crowding and congestion

London Railway Upgrade Plan