In March 2009, Crossrail Ltd. appointed CH2M HILL the Programme Partner for the UK’s largest rail infrastructure program in a half century. Crossrail will provide an affordable, world-class rail system that spans the breadth of London, from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The seventy-four-mile rail line is currently the largest civil engineering effort in Europe, and as a critical investment in London’s future, substantial economic benefits will flow from Crossrail beyond London’s boundaries to the rest of the UK.

Crossrail will expand the city’s rail capacity and enhance the efficiency of London’s busy transit system. Its mainline-sized trains will accommodate more than 1,500 passengers each. The high-frequency train service will help put an estimated 1.5 million Londoners within easy reach of Heathrow Airport, central London, and the city’s key business and tourism centers.

CH2M HILL and its joint venture partners have a combined workforce of 2,000 employees dedicated to the Crossrail program. The team will work in step with the client to ensure that safety, quality, and budget are maintained, while looking for innovative approaches to the engineering and logistical challenges faced by a program of this size and complexity.

The scope of the engineering and construction effort is awe-inspiring. Massive twin-bore tunnels in Central London and a second tunnel network linking the system to Heathrow Airport are centerpieces of the project. All told, twenty-six miles of new tunnels will be dug. Two twenty-foot-wide tunnels will link to each other and the surface at regular intervals, providing ventilation and access for operations and maintenance. Once construction is under way, work crews will operate eight massive tunnel boring machines around the clock.

The program calls for construction of eight new stations in central London, with extensive renovations at another twenty-eight existing rail stations. The Crossrail system will comprise thirty-seven stations overall. The new Tottenham Court Road station, which in 2009 was one of the first stations to enter construction, will be a central crossover hub for Crossrail and London’s Tube system. More than 200,000 people are anticipated to pass through the station every day.

At Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, Crossrail joins the UK’s Great Western and Great Eastern railway networks, linking London’s transit systems and national rail lines in an unprecedented way. Crossrail Ltd. anticipates that the program will expand London’s transit infrastructure by 10 percent when the first trains begin running in 2017.