Crossrail 'progress' March 2019

crossfailfi 1 - Crossrail 'progress' March 2019

Its been a while since I wrote fully about Crossrail so here’s a new post! Its a look at what is currently happening at the two central stations on the line, namely Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road. There might not seem much in terms of Bond Street and there isn’t, but in terms of oversites here a number of things are happening and buildings are revealing their new look.

As I write the scandalous matter that is Crossrail has come up again in the news. I put up on the blog yesterday a brief snippet (see interesting stuff) about the delays to full tunnel testing. Further to this in today’s Standard, as I write, there is yet more detail extolling the fact not one Crossrail station is complete. Until mid-2018 they were saying ‘on time on budget!’

The Standard says Bond St is the worst but that Tottenham Court Road too still has problems:

Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild said he faced a “massive issue” getting stations finished by the end of the summer — which is key to being able to open the delayed line next year. All stations should have been completed by 2016 but construction issues are among a multitude of reasons why opening has been delayed by more than a year, causing costs to soar by £2 billion to £17.6 billion.

Last I wrote on Crossrail’s stations progress was three months ago and this was Tottenham Court Road too. I did in fact prepare a new post in January on Bond Street but the post was aborted. Crossrail makes me very angry sometimes especially the shit coming from it. We’ve got Brexit so who wants this extra shit show shoved right in our faces?

Since Tottenham Court Road was the most recently written about I’ll start with Bond Street, or perhaps more accurately, the environs around the station itself as there’s a fair bit of eye candy in terms of progress.

In Bond Street (or New Bond Street to be exact) itself there are many changes. The last time anything was written on this was July 2017 with a look at 64 to 67 Bond Street. These buildings were pulled down leaving just the facades, whilst the land behind was alloacted to the construction of the east side of the station.

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68 to 66 Bond Street seen March 2019. 67-68 is the one with the archway.

In regards to these buildings the oversite has been progressing for quite some time, since about May 2018 (when the delays at Hanover Square in digging a vent shaft finally were resolved.) The oversite has progressed quite rapildy since (better than the Crossrail site itself) and the facades along Bond Street itself are now revealing their new look.

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The archway at 67-68 Bond Street which once had a historic ceiling.

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As I showed in my 2017 post on these structures the archway seen above at 67-68 was once decorated with an ornate ceiling. Its obviously gone, murdered in the name of Crossrail – like the Astoria and other historic buildings.

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At least the frontages have been retained and maintains the historic view along Bond Street even though what’s behind is all new.

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I had often wondered if these statues would survive. Here they are, cleaned up and fronting Bond Street once again.

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This is the rear of the Bond Street properties, viewed from Tenterden Street.

At Hannover Square there have been changes. The Crossrail construction offices long located in Hannover Square have been moved into the oversite area. This means for the first time in several years the cabmen’s shelter in the square itself is finally visible once again instead of being shut away behind hoardings, portakabin offices etc.

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The historic cabmen’s shelter is becoming evident once more after several years hidden away behind Crossrail’s offices!

It seems at some point quite soon the square will be more or less restored because less land is required now for the remaining work at hand.

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The oversite at Hannover Square in general. One thing that is obvious (and not much of a surprise either) is the lack of progress evident in terms of the Crossrail station entrance.

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I have not shown a view from this aspect before, however its that in Dering Street.

Completely the opposite is happening at Davies Street. That’s no surprise. Remember Crossrail was supposed to be completed by Decmber 2018 and services would be running as the Elizabeth Line?

And then the lies, mistruths, whatever one wants to call these. Davis Street ticket hall turned out to be a turkey. No way would it have been ready for December 2018 – there is some thought it may not even be ready when Crossrail finally has stars in its eyes and walks through the stage curtains dressed as the Elizabeth Line.

Bond Street (Davies Street) is so behind they are in fact doing the opposite to everywhere else. They are now grabbing more land in order to progress with the remainder of the work. Yes you read it right. They are not retrenching in terms of the land they need for works. They are expanding it!

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The Bond Street site seen a couple of days ago.

I wrote about this at the time this was first observed (this was for that post I didnt finish) luckily I took a good record of what was happening so nothing has been missed. Thus for the next bit of this post we are going back two months just to catch up with this part of the Davies Street debacle – what follows is several paragraphs of the text from that draft done in January this year….

When you thought Crossrail would be retracting the scope of their works, not expanding it, that makes one wonder just how far behind the construction of Britain’s new railway really is. As Crossrail sucks in £30 million a week (at the expense of, for example, those who have no jobs or are homeless or need care, medicine etc) it too expands its land requirements as it seeks to become the Queen’s own.

If the line had been opening in December 2018 the works we are seeing now, including this new land grab, should have been undertaken during 2016!

That is amazing because in 2014 Crossrail had claimed it was ‘halfway there.’ They arranged a considerable number of ‘halfway there‘ tours which I assume some of my readers will have been on – and no doubt forgot about! It seems to me at this point in time 2019 Crossrail is still halfway there! No doubt still on time and budget and the rest of the outrageous shit they’ve claimed in regards to having any services up and running by December 2018!

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Crossrail claimed it was halfway to completion in February 2014! Source: Twitter

In terms of lateness the recent preaching from Mark Wild tells us its well over two years late. We should now be looking at an autumn, December 2020, or even early 2021 opening for the new railway.

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The start of Crossrail’s expansion at the Bond Street (west side) site seen on the evening of the 15th January.

Anyway what is this new land grab? Well I’m not too sure but it seems its to do with bringing much extra new stuff onto the site, including machinery, equipment etc and the need for a temporary storage/delivery area as they undertake this task.

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This notice didnt stay there long either! Two weeks probably. Seen 15 January 2019.

Late last year at Davies Street they shut off the roadway down the Weighhouse Street side of that site. That was the first inkling some extra land was necessary to enable the works to progress more. It was a surprise when on 15th January 2019, even worse arrived. The entire section of Davies Street to the north of the site was taken over by Crossrail. Luckily I passed by in Oxford Street that night and saw the works. I said WTF are they doing – and duly took some pictures.

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In the space of two weeks the new site had almost surrounded the Grays Antique Mews building opposite. There wasnt a direct pedestrian route anymore from Davies Street to Oxford Street, one had to go via South Molton Lane.

Although there seemed nothing at the time to explain what Crossrail is doing, for a few days near the beginning of this episode (this is the few days around the end of January/start of February 2019) there was in fact a notice. It didn’t stay up very long. I suppose the contractors assume that seeing they are on time and budget (see their quote below) they do not want people to assume they are being tardy – so the notice came down!

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Taken down yes – but not before I had photographed it!

That notice, even though it was somewhat hidden to make it harder to read, explained in some sense what was happening.

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I had to try reading the bits behind the post to see what it all said. The dates were hidden and couldn’t be seen fully not even at an angle.

What the document says is this:

Traffic management for Phase 1b of the urban realm work for the western ticket hall. The works include changes to the hoarding, drainage, gully points to the sewer and UR works. Attatched drawings show the proposed hoarding line, the road closures and diversions.

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Actually it seems the works in question are to pedestrianise and tidy up the area in front of the Davies Street entrance. It will be sort of like Exhibition Road. There is in fact a rare Crossrail update detailing this work.

If Crossrail had really been on time and budget this ‘massive land grab’ would have been happening in the same period during early 2016, not 2019! In fact that tells us Crossrail is very likely three years behind. What we are seeing is yet another shameful revelation that Crossrail was never going to be on time and budget.

At least one thing is certain from the timetabling of this latest Crossrail venture. It started on time because I discovered it the very evening it was established on site!

Let us not forget the company recently claimed Bond Street wasn’t running late. The boss of the company for the Bond Street works, Costain chief Andrew Wyllie claimed the following in an interview with New Civil Engineer:

At Bond Street we are working to complete the contract absolutely in line with an agreement reached with Crossrail. I don’t recognise [the works as] late, certainly what we are doing is meeting the requirements of the contract we have. Our contract is not late.
Source: New Civil Engineer 7 March 2019

Bond Street has been well covered so perhaps its time to go over and take an eyeball at Dean Street. There isn’t really any need to report on the ‘Goslett Yard’ side of the station (the corner of Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road) as that side of things has been complete since 2017.

First the following tweet was a rare one from the now almost defunct Crossrail Twitter timeline and one that alarmed a number of people!

If one wants to see a rare update from Crossrail Limited on Tottenham Court (which also mentions the fire drill above) here it is in pdf format.

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The Oxford Street side of the station – with its Elizabeth Line roundel covered up.

Tottenham Court Road Dean Street is progressing somewhat, not a fast and furious pace but a sort of hyper snail speed – which isn’t terribly fast by any means. (Bond Street is the reverse, its as if the snail there is stuck in a massive pool of rapidly hardening glue, its been slowed down many times below any possible maximum rate of progress!)

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General view of the Dean Street ticket hall from the west side.

Despite the two Elizabeth Line roundels (which were fixed onto the station’s exterior a good while back but still being covered up) one can now see Elizabeth Line signs inside the station itself, and the lift, or at least the one that can be seen, appears to be operational.

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The new lift can be seen in the centre of the picture – its clearly operational as the scrolling text above it is working and is giving out information. The top of the escalators can be seen to the right.

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General view looking north along the Great Chapel Street side.

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View in the other direction. The pedestrian route has been moved into the site itself!

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For years Tesco’s Dean Street has been hemmed in by Crossrail works. Its now getting some credible forecourt space once again.

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The alleyway between the station and the oversite area. When opened this will be a small piazza.

Although there isn’t any really huge change in terms of how the Dean Street site looks compared to my post written three months ago, there are some notable changes inside the station itself that are now visible. The station’s frontage was not apparent then but now it is taking shape. The station’s name and line colours are up and the all important gates are in place.

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The gates to the station were being closed at the time of my visit however I could see inside the station itself.

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The sides of the walls seem to be decorated with braille writing.

The interior decor can be seen and on the north wall of the ticket hall it seems they have installed a braille wall. I don’t know what it says but its clearly a leaf out of several other locations in London, including the new Cardinal Place tube entrance at Victoria.

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Elizabeth Line sign. This points towards the escalators which are over the other side.

Elizabeth Line signage can also be seen. Its not a great deal because that can too be seen elsewhere such as Custom House where they havent covered any of the signs, or Moorgate and Liverpool Street, where they have covered the signs but enthusiasts (or perhaps vandals for all I know) have pulled the white labels off to reveal the Elizabeth Line stuff hidden underneath.

The essence of Dean Street as it stands is its a station somewhat reasonably on the way to completion. Its of course a huge difference compared to Bond Street – although the article in today’s Standard says there are still many outstanding issues at Tottenham Court Road.

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