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Special Tour:
London Crossrail

The London project of the century. Underground.


This tour took place in May 2019.
Unfortunately there are currently no plans for a repeat.
If you are interested in tours in London just write me.


No photo tour! Not suitable for postings.
See safety instructions below!

The History
In 1941, the idea was born to connect Paddington and Liverpool Street stations by means of railway tunnels. Then, as now, a project of gigantic proportions.
As always, it took a while before a decision was made. In the meantime, various other but equally elaborate plans were drawn up.
The ideas of the city planner Patrick Abercrombie came closest to today’s design. He had already made the County of London Plan of 1943 and the Greater London Plan of 1944.

In the end, only his so-called “Route C” was built around 1970, but for smaller, underground trains: The Victoria Line.

The “Crossrail” project was vaguely named in 1974. It emerged from the study of future transport needs. Of all the options examined, the eastern part of the “Jubilee Line” is ultimately left.
However, the plans for larger connecting tunnels (i.e. for suburban trains) were also stubborn: one from Paddington to Liverpool Street, another from Victoria to London Bridge and also a connection to Heathrow Airport.
For these tunnel plans, there was also a recommendation for a feasibility study with high urgency.

Another 15 years passed. Then, in 1989, the “Central London Rail Study” made a recommendation for three tunnels to British Rail standards. They were named “East-West Crossrail”, “City Crossrail” and “North-South Crossrail”. “Crossrail” has now been officially introduced as a designation.
The report includes other line proposals such as a Thameslink Metro and a new Chelsea-Hackney line.

Another 12 years should go by. From 2001 onwards, the East-West plan was actually developed further.

A little later even the idea of the “Superlink” came up. “Super” not only in the spatial dimension, but also with a cost estimate of an incredible 13 billion pounds at that time.
In addition to the East-West tunnel, new lines would have opened up Cambridge, Ipswich, Southend-on-Sea, Pitsea, Reading, Basingstoke and Northampton. The Superlink is said to have carried four times as many passengers and as a result would have required less public subsidy. There was no political support for the proposal.

Superlink was off the table, Crossrail stayed.

The spatial planning measures were ordered in 2008 to protect the planned transport corridor from other construction projects. On 22 July 2008, the “Crossrail Act” came into force by royal assent.
Financially, however, the Crossrail project is in no way inferior to the Superlink. As of 2008, the complete financing would be 15.9 billion pounds. In December 2018 it was announced that this was no longer sufficient, the final budget now amounts to up to 17.6 billion pounds (including emergency funding).

According to the original timetable, the first trains should have run in 2017. A financial analysis carried out in the same year showed that more than £1 billion could be saved through simpler but slower construction (made possible by fewer tunnel boring machines and access shafts). This postponed the commissioning of the central section by one year.

The Opening

London Rail announced in 2014 that Hong Kong-based MTR Corporation had been awarded the eight-year operating concession, with an option for two more years. It took over the Liverpool Street to Shenfield, Essex line and the concession for suburban services from Paddington to Reading and Heathrow in May 2015 as a lead-in operation.
The start of rail traffic in the central tunnel section was originally planned for December 2018, but is not expected to go into operation until autumn 2019.

When the project is completed, the line is to be renamed “Elizabeth Line” after Queen Elizabeth II.

The Tour

On this very exclusive tour, we are guests of London Rail.
After the inspection (see below), we take a construction elevator far into the depths of the underground facility.
We visit an already completed station and the tunnel.
With a little luck there is the possibility to accompany a test ride (no guarantee!).
An employee will explain the current status.


High security measures:

Cameras, telephones and bags of any size 
must be handed in.
Please bring your identity card/passport with you!
Passing through a body scanner is mandatory.
Make sure that you wear sturdy shoes.
The exact meeting point will be announced shortly before.

Photos: ChristianFessel.de


Was Teilnehmer sagen:

(…) Bei den Teilnehmern der Gruppe kommt Fessels Führung sehr gut an. “Ich bin ganz begeistert und kannte die Siedlung ehrlicherweise vorher nicht”, sagt Christoph Ronner, selbst Architekt. (…)

Zitat aus einem ganzseitigen Artikel über die Führung in der Berliner Morgenpost. 6. Juli 2019

Die Ringsiedling ist ein sehr spannendes Zeitzeugnis für sozialen Wohnungsbau der 30er Jahre. Man bekommt einen tollen Überblick über die progressiven Ideen der Architekten. Die Führung durch die Siedlung war richtig spannend. Viele Hintergrundiformationen.

Georg Charmbalis (auf Google)

Nach einem Rundgang mit enormem Wissen nach Hause gegangen! Toll.

Leonie Spitzer (auf Google)

Discovered Siemensstadt with infostation! I learned so much, was a great guide and super interesting. Wonderful.

Leon L. (on TripAdvisor)

Glückwunsch all denen die per Losverfahren an dieser exclusiven Führung teilnehmen dürfen.
Inspiriert durch das Interesse am Thema Bauhaus meines Wochenend-Besuches hatte ich mich vorab an Christian Fessel gewand .
Er hat uns in seiner Infostation an der Goebelstrasse in Siemensstadt mit viel Wissen und seiner unglaublichen Begeisterung auf die kurze aber interessante Führung der Infostelen durch das UNESCO Weltkulturerbe Siemensstadt bestens vorbereitet.
Wir waren total begeistert (danke nochmal an C.F.,( er weiss schon warum 🙂
Euch allen viel Spass.

Angelika V. (auf nebenan.de)
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