How has the public reacted
and what kind of community
outreach is being done?
Colin: There is large public support for
the project in London as the new railway
will deliver numerous transport benefits.
A significant amount of work has been
undertaken to make sure that local
communities along the route are kept up
to date about the work and how it will
affect them. This includes notification
letters, community drop-ins, liaison
events and newsletters to communicate
how work is progressing and how
residents and businesses will benefit
once the new railway is up and running.
Beyond that, the more informal face-to-face contact is a vital part of the job.
Can you describe your right of
Colin: The statutory powers to acquire
land and rights are set out in the
Crossrail Act of 2008, which applies the
English compulsory purchase code—the
collection of compensation legislation
that had its roots in the original railway
building boom in the 1840s.
The process involves notices being served
on affected landowners and occupiers
to undertake what we call compulsory
purchase. Compensation is then
negotiated and if an agreement is not
reached by the sixth anniversary, the
statute of limitations requires referral to
The Lands Tribunal for determination.
Such referral can take place at any stage
during the six-year period.
The vast majority of compensation claims
are settled by negotiation. The Crossrail
project passes through some of London’s
most valuable real estate including
Mayfair in the West End. As a result,
several compensation claims involving
offices and retail property required
payments in excess of $50 million.
A notable difference with rail projects
elsewhere in the world is that the UK is
entirely reliant on compulsory purchase
from the outset, there being no
acquisition or commitment/agreement
in advance of the statutory powers to
acquire land and rights being obtained.
How has technology impacted
Colin: Building Information Modelling
(BIM) is the process of generating,
building and managing data by using
model-based technologies linked to
a database of project information.
BIM incorporates data—physical,
environmental and commercial—on
every element designed for Crossrail.
A BIM environment has never
before been created on this scale
for a European transportation
infrastructure project. Crossrail is
focusing its efforts in maximizing the
opportunities BIM can bring not only
in delivery of the railway, but also in
driving forward design innovation
within the construction industry.
The key benefits include reduction
of risks, improved safety, reduced
errors from using a trusted “single
source of truth” approach, improved
collaboration through linked data sets
and integrated 3D models, reduced
information loss and improved
How do you see this project
shaping future rail projects?
Colin: Crossrail’s Learning Legacy
initiative was launched to share
insight from the project with the
wider UK infrastructure industry.
Passing on the lessons and best
practices that we have learned at
Crossrail is an absolutely essential
part of raising the bar in the delivery
of major infrastructure projects.
With an unprecedented number of
infrastructure schemes around the
corner, this will enable the UK to
build on its reputation for delivering
safely, on time and on budget.
With 40 Elizabeth line stations, the new state-of-the-art trains will carry an estimated 200 million passengers a year, increasing the capital’s rail capacity by 10 percent.
platform to street
train to street
West Hayes &
Drayton Harlington Hanwell
CourtRoad Farringdon Street Whitechapel Stratford
Terminals 2, 3
Heathro w Airport DLR
Custom House for Ex CeL
Elizabeth line map