Thousand tonne rail flyover launched to improve connection to Heathrow
27 May 2014 • Author: Crossrail
The launch of a new rail bridge over the Great Western Main Line has been completed as part of works to ensure that the existing railway is ready for Crossrail trains to and from Heathrow.
The new flyover in Stockley, Hillingdon, will ensure that Crossrail and Heathrow Express services heading towards central London will be able to join the Great Western Main Line without delaying, or being delayed, by other trains using the route.
Two jacks launched the bridge with a force equivalent to that needed to lift 115 London taxis. A total of 20 moveable wheels and special Teflon sheets were also used to help the bridge launch.
When the route to the west of London fully opens in 2019, Crossrail will significantly improve links between Heathrow and the capital’s main commercial and financial districts – the West End, the City and Canary Wharf. Passengers will be able to catch one train all the way through central London, reaching Bond Street in 26 minutes and Canary Wharf in 40 minutes.
Matthew White, Surface Director at Crossrail said: “Launching a thousand tonne bridge over the Great Western Main Line is quite a feat of engineering and one that I’m sure would have made Brunel proud.
“The new flyover at Stockley is an essential part of our works in west London, ensuring that the network has enough capacity to run frequent services to and from Heathrow. Crossrail will significantly improve transport links to the airport, bringing the West End, the City and Canary Wharf closer than ever before.”
Rob McIntosh, Crossrail Programme Director, Network Rail said: “We used innovative methods as this was a complex and difficult operation. The system of sliding the bridge over the railway line allowed for controlled and safe installation with minimal interruption of rail services. That said, it took a lot of preparation ahead of time, and we monitored progress very carefully.”
Crossrail services between London Paddington and Heathrow will begin in 2018. From 2019, the full service will begin, allowing passengers to travel from Heathrow right through the centre of the capital without changing trains.