Crossrail has released video footage and images of the first mile of dedicated Crossrail track being laid.
Work to install a new 3.2km section of track between the Crossrail tunnel portal at Plumstead and Abbey Wood station is now half complete.
More than a mile (1.6km) of new track has been laid by Network Rail, representing the first section of dedicated Crossrail track to be installed along the route.
Work has included the re-alignment of the existing North Kent line, which serves trains between London and Kent, and the replacement of the Church Manor Way footbridge.
Ahead of Crossrail services beginning in 2018, the tracks will now be used to support the fit-out of the new tunnels to create a fully functioning railway beneath the streets of London.
Crossrail surface director Matthew White said: “Crossrail will help to transform Abbey Wood, providing a step change in public transport and encouraging investment and development in the local area. At peak time, 12 Crossrail trains an hour will make it significantly quicker and easier to get to range of destinations across London and the South East.”
Network Rail’s crossrail programme director Matthew Steele said: “Completing this section of track on time is important because it means that Crossrail can get on with the job of fitting out the new tunnels. Once fully open in 2018, the new tracks will link Abbey Wood to the rest of London like never before, providing local people with a dramatically improved rail service.”
Crossrail is the single biggest addition to the local rail network since the North Kent line was built in 1849.
From 2018, a train every five minutes during the peak hours will allow passengers to travel across London without having to change trains. The journey from Abbey Wood to Canary Wharf and Bond Street will be about 20 minutes quicker and passengers travelling to Heathrow will be able to cut in the region of 40 minutes off their journey.
Network Rail is responsible for the design, development and delivery of the parts of Crossrail that are on the existing network. The principal contractor for the work at Abbey Wood is Balfour Beatty.