Crossrail brings old tunnel back to life

 

The Connaught Tunnel in East London

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be taken down the Connaught Tunnel in East London.

It is a 600m 'cut and cover' tunnel that's now disused.

It was built in 1878 to transport, among other things, passengers and goods from the nearby docks and it became known as the North Woolwich line.

Now it's going to be brought back to life as part of the Crossrail project.

They call it "renovate and reuse" and it will cost £50m to get the tunnel into a fit state so that tracks and the electricity supply can be put in.

They think it is cheaper than tunnelling underneath.

The engineers are extremely excited and nervous about what they'll find when soil excavations begin and they are eager to preserve the transport heritage of the capital.

In the video above you can watch my TV report, brilliantly shot by cameraman Ian Paice, in which I talk to Linda Miller of Crossrail about the Connaught Tunnel and their plans for it.

PS. My old stomping ground, the Mind the Gap blog, was closed today. Steve Phillips had the honour of writing the final post.

 
Tom Edwards Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    A major point about the route of the Crossrail from Berks to east London. Surely the western end must extend to Reading, not just Maidenhead! Reading is bigger than Maidenhead and a major BR linking station, and has massive justification for it's commuters going into London, and especially into E.London/City areas. London needs Reading and west-based residents as much as it needs M'head.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    Interesting bit of film here. I wouldn't have guessed it was still being used just 5 yrs ago. That must mean it is at least structurally safe (or was 5 yrs ago). It probably is cheaper to use that tunnel rather than digging a new one - especially if the rail route is identical to both a new and the old tunnel - as long as the old tunnel is sufficiently deep to avoid current shipping traffic.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    I wanted to add some praise for the camera person. This is a very atmospheric piece. Can we have more about old brick London, tunnels and the like?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    i had a look at googel earthe and tada :

    the tunnel runs under the end of the airport from a (disused) part of track
    it does not go under the docks but aparently the lock inbetween the docks

    the track sits inbetween the 2 dlr lines

    and if crosrail is correct not much of the tunnel wil be kept becouse it wil be enlarged , only the brick on the entrances wil remain


  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    i saw your report yesterday on bbc londen news.

    its nice that you report this but the report is lacking.

    i'm no journalist , but i'm missing some info like :

    - how does this tunnel fit into crosrail
    - how wil the new tunnel look like
    - single or double track
    - trainspeeds

    etc.

    trie putting this in reports becouse now its just some meaninles tat about londen without any substance

 

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