The new flyover in Stockley, Hillingdon, will ensure that Crossrail and Heathrow Express services heading towards central London will be able to join the Great Western Main Line without delaying, or being delayed by, other trains using the route.
Two hydraulic jacks pushed the 1,000-tonne bridge into place, helped by 20 wheels and special Teflon sheets to minimise friction resistance. Main contractor is Carillion.
Crossrail surface director Matthew White said: “Launching a thousand tonne bridge over the Great Western Main Line is quite a feat of engineering and one that I’m sure would have made Brunel proud.
“The new flyover at Stockley is an essential part of our works in west London, ensuring that the network has enough capacity to run frequent services to and from Heathrow. Crossrail will significantly improve transport links to the airport, bringing the West End, the City and Canary Wharf closer than ever before.”
Network Rail’s programme director for Crossrail, Rob McIntosh, added: “We used innovative methods as this was a complex and difficult operation. The system of sliding the bridge over the railway line allowed for controlled and safe installation with minimal interruption of rail services. That said, it took a lot of preparation ahead of time, and we monitored progress very carefully.”
Crossrail services between London Paddington and Heathrow will begin in 2018. From 2019, the full service will begin, allowing passengers to travel from Heathrow right through the centre of the capital without changing trains.