Crossrail was locked in negotiations with councils from both sides of London this week as calls to add new stations to the route threatened to derail the scheme’s £15.9bn budget.
Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham councils have both said they will lobby for stations in west London. Meanwhile, developer Berkeley Homes is still in detailed negotiations with Crossrail about how much it will pay for the station in Woolwich in south-east London.
In west London, Kensington & Chelsea council is urging Crossrail to shift a proposed turnback facility at Paddington to Kensal and build a station at the site. Hammersmith & Fulham is lobbying for a station close to the Kensal site at Old Oak Common, but within its boundary.
A turnback site is needed in west London to accommodate trains that will not travel the full length of the Crossrail route. Both councils are arguing that a station could easily be added at such a facility.
“Nothing can drive forward the regeneration of this part of north Kensington better than the inclusion of a Crossrail station.”
Merrick Cockell, Kensington & Chelsea Council
The Kensal site is one of the last major regeneration sites in central London and is capable of accommodating more than 2,500 new homes, plus new shops and community facilities. However, its wide-scale regeneration depends on the new transport links offered by Crossrail.
“Nothing can drive forward the regeneration of this part of north Kensington better than the inclusion of a Crossrail station. We firmly believe that the Kensal site is the right choice,” said councillor Merrick Cockell, leader of Kensington & Chelsea Council. Crossrail chief executive Rob Holden said that both councils’ schemes were being taken seriously, but that decisions would have to be made quickly.
“We’ve been talking to the people from Kensington & Chelsea for some time now about a new station or possibly a turnback facility at Kensal Green; it is one of a number of options in that locality,” said Holden.
“Network Rail and our consultants are examining the feasibility of that station. It’s a piece of work that needs to be completed quickly if we are to include it in our scope and we can deliver it efficiently.”
Crossrail will also continue discussing Hammersmith & Fulham’s proposals, he said. Holden said a new station would only be built if it could be delivered within the scheme’s £15.9bn budget.
“My team is tasked at [delivering to] this budget and if we can find savings to increase the scope of the project, that is one option,” said Holden.
Plans for Woolwich station in south-east London also remained in the balance this week, with Holden in high-level talks with Berkeley Homes chairman Tony Pidgley and chief executive Rob Perrins.
“I met with Tony Pidgley and Rob Perrins and we’re working very closely together to establish our programme of works and reliable cost estimates,” said Holden.
“Once we’ve got that there will be further discussions with the Department for Transport and Transport for London on the finalisation of the financing arrangements which will determine whether we will or will not have that station at Woolwich.”
Tunnel contracts : The race is on
Crossrail has this week invited bids for tunnelling work at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street underground stations.
The Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road station tunnels will have sprayed concrete linings.
The contracts will last 43 and 48 months respectively. Both jobs are on the project’s critical path as the station platform tunnels must be completed in time to allow the through-passage of the running tunnel TBMs.
Meanwhile, five teams have expressed interest in bidding for the first two major Crossrail tunnelling jobs worth around £400M each.
Crossrail told NCE sister title Construction News that five prequalification questionnaires had been submitted last week for C300 and C305 - 6.2km and 8.3km tunnels respectively.
Balfour Beatty, Beton-und Monierbau, Morgan Est and Vinci Construction Grands Projets have come together as BBMV.
Skanska has teamed up with Costain and Bilfinger Berger, while Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues are forming a joint bid.
Kier, Bam and Ferrovial are a team with the fifth bidder understood to be a Murphy and Hochtief joint venture.