Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Crossrail station profile: Whitechapel

“By 2017, Whitechapel station will have developed into a rail hub worthy of the vibrant area of east London that it services,” says Crossrail Central project manager for Whitechapel Ben Hardy.

As well as London Underground’s (LU’s) existing District and Hammersmith & City Lines, interchange at Whitechapel will include a direct connection to new East London Line services and, of course, Crossrail.

Facilities which permit District and Hammersmith & City trains to turn at Whitechapel are being relocated to West Ham to create space for the existing platforms to be reconfigured into a single island platform. This will accommodate new stairs, escalators and lifts to take passengers from a new ticket hall to the sub-surface platforms.

The Crossrail platforms will be built below ground to the north of the existing LU station while the new ticket hall will be built above the District and Hammersmith & City Line platforms.

The twin 250m long Crossrail platform tunnels will be constructed using sprayed concrete lining techniques running east to west at a depth of 30m between shafts at Cambridge Heath Road and Durward Street. Access will be provided from Durward Street and Fulbourne Street, the latter being pedestrianised.

“A particular challenge is that the station must remain open throughout the Crossrail works.”

Ben Hardy, Crossrail Central

The existing entrance will remain and a second entrance with step-free access between street level and between all services at the station will be constructed.

“A particular challenge is that the station must remain open throughout the Crossrail works,” says Hardy.

Ventilation and emergency escape shafts will be built in Durward Street and Cambridge Heath Road. The 30m external diameter Cambridge Heath Shaft (CHS) will provide ventilation, intervention and emergency escape requirements for the station. An adjoining draught relief shaft will be constructed early in the programme to facilitate the construction of the Crossrail platform tunnels.

Key to the successful construction of the Cambridge Heath Road shaft will be the ability to maintain verticality of the diaphragm walls to strict tolerances down to a depth of 35m, while maintaining the operation of an adjacent supermarket car park within which the work site sits. Technical challenges include the complex configuration of large openings within the shaft walls at base level and their integration with the sprayed concrete lined adits connecting the shaft to the new Crossrail platforms.

One of the most challenging aspects at Whitechapel station is the design and construction associated with the shaft and cross passage at Durward Street.

“A temporary working platform will need to be constructed above the live railway to provide separation between the new works and the operational ELL. Safety will be paramount.”

Chris Burgess, Crossrail Central

The shaft provides interchange, ventilation, intervention and emergency escape requirements and the smaller cross passage will provide interchange access between the new Crossrail platforms and the existing District, Hammersmith & City and East London lines. Not only are they located either side of the East London Line (ELL) but they are also adjacent to both a local sports centre and a local school.

As Crossrail Central project engineer Chris Burgess says: “To overcome the working space limitations, a temporary working platform will need to be constructed above the live railway to provide separation between the new works and the operational ELL. Safety will be paramount. Furthermore, the design will need to limit ground movements associated with the very complex staging of top down and bottom up construction methods and their associated temporary works.”

The new Fulboune Street ticket hall and its visually striking roof structure are to be built above the existing operational District and Hammersmith & City Line platforms. Ensuring passenger safety and minimising disruption will be primary considerations throughout the work.

Existing bridges above the station will need to be removed and 25m-deep secant piled walls will be constructed for the escalator basement box structure between the District Line platforms. This will require the use of specialised piling plant to ensure continued operation of the railway.

Minimising disruption to the community and third parties will be essential in a site as constrained as Whitechapel. Many interfaces are required including with LU, ELL, Whitechapel Sports Centre, The Royal London Hospital, Sainsbury’s supermarket, Whitechapel market traders, residents’ associations and the local community at large. In addition, a visitor information centre will open for the public from 2010.

Crossrail run times from Whitechapel

  • Canary Wharf 03 mins
  • Whitechapel n/a
  • Liverpool Street 02 mins
  • Farringdon 05 mins
  • Tottenham Court Road 08 mins
  • Bond Street 10 mins
  • Paddington 13 mins

Related files

Readers' comments (1)

  • There is now a revised scheme for Whitechapel. This has been on the Crossrail website for over a year. Perhaps you could update your page.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.