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Elizabeth Line Turns 1 !

Series: Infrastructure Projects Making the Difference.


It's been 1 year on since the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Line, but how much do you really know about the project apart from the fact that it's named after Queen Elizabeth II? - don't worry, that's why we're here :)


The Elizabeth Line is a £18.8 billion infrastructure project bringing 1.5 million more people within a 45 minute commute of the key business districts of the West End, City and Docklands. This is all done via new railway trains, tracks and tunnels under central London:

If you're someone who commuted through London everyday, you'll already know how busy it can get (especially around rush hours!). The New Elizabeth Line was actually introduced to help increase central London’s rail capacity by 10%, taking pressure off some of the Underground’s busiest interchanges.


Network Rail own, repair and develop the railway infrastructure in England, Scotland and Wales. They are 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. Over the last eight years, they have been upgrading 31 existing stations in preparation for the opening of the Elizabeth line.


Further Impact

You know we love employment news and progress, so it was amazing to discover that this project alone has provided great employment opportunities. 1,000 apprenticeships were created with 10,000 people employed at the peak of it's construction phase (amazing!). This project has also:


Reduced passenger journey times across the city - As well as boosting capacity and improving connections, the Elizabeth line cut's journey times for around 200 million people who use it each year.


Encourages regeneration & provides an economic legacy - it supports regeneration across the capital by bringing people closer to jobs, providing new transport links and through significant new developments over stations. The new railway will add an estimated £42bn to the UK economy.



Design

Length: 118km

Number of Stations: 41 (10 new, 31 improved/upgraded)


The 10 new station were designed by different international Architecture Studios, with each taking their on design approaches inspired by their locations. The only universal design areas consistent across all 10 would be the below-ground circulating areas, passages and platforms. The stations are scaled to accommodate future growth of London, so they do appear to be bigger than normal.


Click each photo below to see the Architect and design bio:

We love how the spaces makes you feel - if you're someone with a design background you can't help but notice the interlocking ceiling panels! The signature look of the curving white glass fibre reinforced cladding (GFRC) linings predominates the passageways, with gentle flared corners to improve visibility and safety, and minimise clutter. Free-standing finger-posts known as ‘totems’ give clear and consistent directions to exits, platforms and interchanges.


Other Features: Lifts, ramps, improved signage, crossings and places to stop ensure the stations are accessible, with step-free access to platform level as a minimum. The 10 new stations have step-free access from train to street. (Step-free access stations have lifts or ramps - or a combination of both - so that customers don't have to use escalators or stairs to move between the street and the platform.)


Inside the Train

The moquette seating pattern of the seats were designed by Wallace Sewell who are a materials studio who have worked on many transport fabrics before . The purple colour of the line and logo is reflected in the pattern itself! The design incorporates the line’s purple tone and adds contrasting pale tones in a horizontal pattern.

The trains themselves were designed and built by Bombardier Transportation in Derby. They worked hand in hand with London design studio Barber & Osgerby worked on the interiors of the train.


The inside of the trains feature interconnected carriages, meaning you can walk through them. We love the balance between standing room and a mixture of “metro style and bay” seating - this comes handy when the train gets packed.


The trains also have air-conditioning and 4 dedicated wheelchair spaces, alongside multi-use spaces for buggies and bicycles. Each carriage has 3 sets of double doors which aim to make entering and leaving easier.


What's Next?

Even though the completed Elizabeth Line project is amazing, London needs more transport infrastructure to keep pace with and support the capital’s economic growth. There are now plans to undergo Crossrail 2 which is a proposed new high frequency, high capacity line between south west and north east London. The route would alleviate rail capacity in south west London and provide new transport options, employment opportunities and housing across the capital and beyond. Without a new large infrastructure project, we risk losing 3,000 highly skilled engineers and tunnelling specialists to projects abroad, so Crossrail 2 is a great opportunity for many.



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