London’s £15 billion Underground upgrade is one step closer to completion

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Flickr / Transport for London

The first purple roundels marking Underground stations across London’s new Elizabeth line have been installed, bringing the 10-year project closer to completion.

The first signs were put in place at stations including Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, and Custom House.

The Elizabeth line is a massive upgrade to the existing underground system. The £14.8 billion project, which connects 30 existing stations with 26 miles of new tunnels, is the biggest construction project ever undertaken in Europe.

Services from Liverpool Street to Shenfield will open in December 2018 with the full line being operational by the end of 2019.

The section of the line that will be operational from December 2018 has now been illustrated on an updated Tube map.


The new roundels were installed in January across some of the platforms that are being upgraded for the Elizabeth line.

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Flickr/TfL

The roundels are bright purple, the signature color of London’s newest railway.

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Flickr/TfL

The roundels have been manufactured across the UK in sites at Exeter, Glasgow, and the Isle of White, according to the Crossrail Project.

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Flickr/TfL

Farringdon is among one of the first stations to sport the new purple sign.

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Flickr/TfL

Tottenham Court Road has also been updated.

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Flickr/TfL

This short video shows how the roundels are manufactured.


The first wave of installations brings the railway one step closer to its open, planned for December 2018.

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Flickr/TfL

Work on Crossrail began in 2009. Giant tunnel boring machines were used to dig a network of big, empty tunnels.

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Crossrail

Here is the main tunneling machine, called Elizabeth, breaking through to Farringdon.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

A big crane was used to lower the machine into the main shaft of the Elizabeth line.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

Once the boring machines finish the tunnels, the only way to get them out is to dismantle them.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

Equipment is moved around by rolling multi-purpose gantries in the Crossrail tunnel.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

The platform for Bond street will be in this massive cavern.

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Flickr / Crossrail project

And this is the future home of the Farringdon platform.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

The tunnels are nearly ready by Stepney Green heading eastbound between the Whitechapel and Stratford stations.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

Here is the permanent track being finished off between Stepney Green and Pudding Mill Lane.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

The tracks are now completely laid for the Elizabeth line and nearly ready for the first trains.

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John Phillips/Getty Images

The line will stretch all the way from Reading in the west through to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east.

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© Crossrail Ltd

This is what the Farringdon station site looked like two years ago above ground…

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

… the new station will feature diamond structural beams in the ceiling.

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Flickr / Crossrail project

The Bond Street station will be accessed by a new stairwell with glass-fibre reinforced concrete ceiling tiles.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

This was the Tottenham Court Road entrance while it was still under construction but is now fully operational.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

The new riverside station at Canary Wharf is built 18 metres below water level.

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Flickr / Crossrail

Inside the new station, customers will find a timber lattice roof and a garden on the top floor.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

When the station fully opens in December 2019, it will connect Canary Wharf with the West End and Heathrow.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

The new Paddington station will span three levels when it opens in December 2018.

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Flickr / Crossrail Project

The new Elizabeth Line trains have wider doors to make boarding quicker.

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Flickr / Transport for London

All trains have walk-through carriages, like the Overground lines.

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Flickr / Transport for London

The trains have a mix of metro-style and bay seating, ideal for groups.

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Flickr / Transport for London

The new screens provide real-time travel updates. Customers also have access to free Wi-Fi.

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Flickr / Transport for London

Queen Elizabeth II unveiled the purple Elizabeth Line logo at a naming ceremony in February 2016.


As of October this year, just over 10% of the project remains unfinished. Over the next few months, the focus will be on fitting out the railway, including installing platform screen doors and overhead lines to power the trains.

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Crossrail

Once fully open, the line is expected to carry 10 million people every year between the 10 new stations.

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Crossrail