Paddington Crossrail opens up new areas

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Following the early May Bank Holiday (2021) yet more of the temporary fencing at Paddington was taken down and one can all but see the entire Crossrail site at platform level (that’s the main line station not the Elizabeth Line itself.) The Departures Road site is now viewable from Paddington’s Clock Arch. Other work has also included removing further bits of the hoarding/fencing along Eastbourne Terrace and the Elizabeth Line roundels which I featured a couple of weeks ago are now fully visible. The new and stylish CCTV cameras columns can too be seen. At the northern end some very stylish stone seating and bike racks are evident and soon the entire site will become fully visible – with access possible from the north end of the site to complement that already available from the south.

Rail information and departure screens have been in place for sometime and these are waiting for the site to open up fully so people can peruse these en route to their respective train in the main line station. I wrote about this just a month back. However passengers coming off Crossrail/Elizabeth Line itself are not expected to be using the new purple entrance/exits until 2022 at the earliest – although the Evening Standard did report that TfL’s new commissioner, Andy Byford, was making efforts to try and get the Elizabeth Line’s core section up and running for public services by late December 2021.

Eastbourne Terrace frontage opened up more

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The hoarding and metal fencing has been removed to give additional public space by the intersection with Praed Street. The new Crossrail purple roundels are now fully fitted and can now be inspected closely – although as yet there’s no information or maps on these. It’ll be interesting to see what information gets on these. There’ll be a map no doubt!

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New bus stands and bike racks form a feature of this latest section to be opened up.

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As well as bus stands there’s also some smart stone seating here, as there is too at the southern end of Eastbourne Terrace.

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The 46 seen on its new stands. As explained in my previous post (with picture) buses been using this since December 2020, however the paved area was fenced off until now, which makes a great difference.

Whilst new bus stands had been provided along Eastbourne Terrace since December 2020, these were on road sites. With this latest stage new bus laybys have been provided and we should soon see Eastbourne terrace become the busy bus terminus/stabling point it once was. We should see services such as the 332 moved from their current stop over point in Bishops Bridge Road back to Eastbourne Terrace whilst other routes such as the 205 will be moved back from Chilworth Terrace/Westbourne Terrace. The 46 is now using the new bus stands, and it seems these might be a new starting point for it – since it was cut back from Lancaster Gate last year and has sort of shifted around Paddington in search of a proper bus stand!

Crossrail/Costain/Skanska remove their offices in Chilworth Street

Another aspect of this recent progress is that Crossrail – or rather the contractors working for it, are moving slowly off site. The large portakabin temporary Crossrail offices sited in adjacent Chilworth Street are being removed, there was a large crane present on the 4th and 5th of May for this work. Crossrail and its contractors still have a small base at the top of Eastbourne Terrace within Paddington station itself which suffices for the moment – there isn’t really any need further for large scale operations in terms of construction or office facilities – its clearly a case of things slowly but surely being retrenched until the entire site is handed over to both Network Rail and TfL all but complete.

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Large crane on site to remove the Crossrail offices in Chilworth Street!

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As this scene shows a couple of the portakabins are now removed.

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Almost all the portakabins have gone save for a couple further back. 5th May 2021.

Departures Road level now visible from main line station

Its nearly a year since the first bit of the Elizabeth Line departures Road site opened to the public (as I wrote about it here.) This latest is a sort of aperitif for the next stage which is to open up the connection between platform one in the main line station and the Elizabeth Line itself. One can currently walk right up to the departures road but not onto it. At least a better view of the new Elizabeth Line entrances can now be gained!

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There’s a new vista through the Clock Arch just off platform one at Paddington!

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Can one bear the excitement much longer??

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The Elizabeth Line station entrance viewed from the Clock Arch area with the tops of the escalators visible.

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Purple roundels for the Elizabeth Line (as seen from the Clock Arch) to complement those already in Eastbourne Terrace.

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New signs for passengers emerging off the Elizabeth Line escalators onto the Departures Road level. Seen from Clock Arch.

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The new Paddington station entrance name is now up though it can only currently be properly visible from Eastbourne Terrace.

Construction News reported the other day that ‘Crossrail has made enough progress to no longer be considered a construction site but the £19bn project is still yet to start its crucial train-testing phase…’ To all purposes and intents its now an operational railway however any actual full train testing is yet to begin. To date train testing has involved at the most four trains an hour, and this has to increase to 24 trains an hour. Its thought this might begin very soon.

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The area behind the hoarding at the north end of Eastbourne Terrace seen a year ago. Soon this will be open to the public!

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Crossrail and its contractor have a small base at the northern end of Paddington station, sufficient for present use of the site.

There’s still work to do on the departures road level, and lots of stuff to clear, but I’m sure it wont be that long before people can actually walk along this bit of the main line station and through the famous Clock Arch itself – all of this has been out of bounds to passengers and the likes since about 2015! It will be a difference though to once again be able to walk down to the Clock Arch from either end.

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The Eastbourne Terrace lifts – will they open up the two topmost levels initially?

It’ll also be interesting to see if the lifts that go directly from Eastbourne Terrace to the Elizabeth line ticket hall and platforms will be put into use just for the bit from the roadway to the Departures Road level. At Canary Wharf the lifts that actually go down to the station itself do work but that bit to the as yet unopened station levels are is switched out and the lifts only go to the levels that are in public use. One wonders if they will do the same here with the Eastbourne Terrace lifts.

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