Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE

99th Thomas Hawksley Lecture - Delivering Crossrail

14 December 2011

Crossrail is not only the largest infrastructure project in Europe, with a funding capacity of almost £15bn, but probably in engineering terms the most complicated. The project is due to be completed in 2018.

There is an increasing recognition that the UK needs to prioritise investment in our infrastructure so that the economy can compete globally. It is equally important that we have a UK plan that moves us away from the stop/go policies of the past that by their very nature increased total costs because we did not efficiently utilise the capacity available.

We have already seen some very positive examples of what infrastructure investment can achieve including High Speed1 and St Pancras as well, of course, as the work undertaken in support of the Olympics. Infrastructure investment is critical to UK, particularly London, which now includes the complexity of Crossrail building the first railway in almost 50 years under and across a global city.

But delivering a new railway system in the 21st century has many new challenges that means that the approach we take now is so different to the way things were done in the past.

This includes a zero tolerance approach that ensures safety is a key imperative, a sustainable environmental agenda, complex planning obligations, critical stakeholder management, minimal disruption to the day to day activities of the city, developing the skills needed for the programme and managing the logistics are just some of the considerations that have to be planned for. And of course we are building a new railway through a very congested underground environment as well as construction near or under some very new and very old buildings.

Crossrail has many engineering challenges that will require innovation, worldwide expertise and outstanding leadership. The project has started well and has met its early objectives but we are entering a phase of significantly increased activity and the lecture will highlight planning for delivering this very exciting project.

This lecture is in association with the Railway Division and supported by the Eastern, South Eastern and Thameswey Regions.


Play it back

: Terry Morgan, Crossrail

Duration: 1 hour 25 minutes