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It's felt like forever...and just what have they been up to behind all those hoardings? Focusing on Farringdon, we reveal Crossrail in progress...

Crossrail: your questions answered. The latest information on Crossrail's progress in Farringdon, along with the key facts and figures you need to know. Roll on 2018...

Remind me where Crossrail will run from and to again?
Crossrail will run for 73 miles from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new tunnels under central London, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

When will it open?
Crossrail is still scheduled to open in 2018.

Will there be more room on the trains, then?
I'm fed up of squishing under strangers' armpits. Crossrail will increase capacity on the London rail network by 10%.

What are they doing with all that earth?
More than 4.5 million tonnes of excavated earth from Crossrail's tunnels and stations will be used to create a new RSPB nature reserve in Essex.

How are the tunnels being built?
The 26 miles of tunnels are being constructed using eight tunnelling machines (see pictures). These machines are underground factories, excavating the tunnels, removing the earth and building the concrete lining at an average rate of 100 metres a week.

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How do these tunnelling machines work?
Each machine is 150 metres long, weighs 1,000 tonnes and has a diameter of 7.1 metres. About 20 workers keep each machine operational, receiving supplies from the tunnel entrance via locomotive train.The machines come complete with kitchen and toilet facilities and they are the first in the UK to have a safety chamber with enough independent air supply for 24 hours.

What's going on in Farringdon?
Farringdon is one of 10 new stations being built along the Crossrail route. Work on the Royal Oak to Farringdon east tunnel started in May 2013, while work on the Farringdon east to Limmo Peninsula tunnel began in November 2012.

How many people will use Farringdon station once Crossrail opens?
An estimated 90,000 passengers will use the station to access Crossrail each day. And a total of 150,000 will use the Farringdon interchange.

How will the station cope with all those people?
There'll be a lot of trains. 24 Crossrail trains per hour will pass through Farringdon in each direction during peak hours. Including Crossrail, 140 trains per hour will travel through Farringdon station via London Underground, Crossrail and Network Rail.

Any other benefits?
Farringdon will directly connect with three of London's five airports, providing a much-needed railway connection between Heathrow and Gatwick. You'll be able to travel to Heathrow in 30 minutes, Paddington in seven minutes and Canary Wharf in nine minutes.

Will Crossrail be updating the station?
Yes, there'll be two new ticket halls, and 1km of passenger tunnels and platforms.

When will they be tunnelling under the neighbourhood?
The first of Crossrail's tunnelling machines, Phyllis, will arrive at Farringdon in autumn 2013 and finish her journey near Barbican station later this year. Her sister machine Ada will follow shortly, and tunnelling machines Victoria and Elizabeth will arrive here, ending their respective journeys, in 2014.

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Has Crossrail unearthed anything interesting in the area?
Yes. Archaeologists uncovered 23 skeletons at Charterhouse Square in March 2013 and believe they may relate to a previously documented but not located burial ground from the 14th century Black Death plague.
www.crossrail.co.uk

 

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