Alliance hosts Crossrail CEO Mark Wild as prospects for the project opening look increasingly upbeat
The London Property Alliance was delighted to host a breakfast event at the stunning new HB Reavis UK Bloom building on top of Crossrail’s recently completed Farringdon Station. Along with local business improvement district members from the Central District Alliance, guests were able to see and hear first-hand how Crossrail is already shaping the Farringdon development landscape of this increasingly attractive part of the City Fringe. Guest speaker Mark Wild, the CEO of Crossrail talked through the transformational impact that the project will have. With opening scheduled for the first half of next year, Mr Wild noted that the combined services of Crossrail, the Underground and Thameslink meant that more than 150 trains an hour will serve the station in the peak. Once fully up and running, Crossrail will be offering 24 trains an hour in each direction through its central tunnels, transforming journey times and travel opportunities from Essex through to Hampshire.
Complex testing and commissioning of train control and signalling systems now well underway, Mr Wild stated. But to make sure the opening went smoothly services will be introduced gradually with the earliest expected date for services from Reading, Heathrow and Shenfield to connect with the central tunnels being autumn 2022. Full “end-to-end” services will commence no later than May 2023.
Acknowledging that delays to the scheme had been frustrating for businesses, the Crossrail CEO went on to ask for “realistic advocacy” from companies to help highlight the major benefits of the Elizbeth line (as Crossrail will be called once it opens). These include 1.5 million people being able to access central London within 45 minutes compared to now and the equivalent of a 10% increase in London’s rail capacity.
In discussions with guests, the opportunity for Crossrail 2 to benefit from a transfer of skills and experience as Crossrail 1 preparation came to a close, was discussed. There was also an opportunity to highlight Elizabeth line benefits to commuters, tourists and business travellers in particular, given its routeing to and from airports, central London employment hotspots and many major visitor destinations. With airy spacious stations and air conditioned, “walk through” trains, Crossrail has the ability to boost the confidence of rail users concerned about Covid-19. Mr Wild highlighted the fact that no traces of the virus have been found to date on any TfL service.
After Mr Wild’s talk, Alliance and CDA guests and members were able to visit the seventh floor of the Bloom building and see a combination of stunning and traditional skyline views from the recently completed outdoor terrace. From there, a trip to the basement meant they could see first hand, a newly installed gym in the HB Reavis development. Many of the outstanding features of the building including its excellent environmental credentials were highlighted by Louise Ioannou and Jiao Wei of HB Reavis in opening remarks. And when Crossrail finally opens next year, Bloom will be able to add to these that it really is probably one of best connected developments anywhere in London and indeed the UK.