With nine new stations to build and over 42 kilometres of new underground tunnelling to complete under the feet of millions of Londoners, the Crossrail rail link is one of Europe’s largest civil engineering projects.

Speaking on Monday evening 23 September at the Royal Academy of Engineering Lloyds Register Educational Trust Lecture 2013, Andrew Wolstenholme OBE FREng, Chief Executive of Crossrail, will highlight the challenges and the outstanding engineering that have characterised this project.

Mr Wolstenholme will tell the story of how seven out of the eight giant tunnelling machines have already chewed through over 19 kilometres of London clay, fighting for space with existing underground tunnels and historical foundations.

The lecture will detail the environmental and social sustainability of the project will also feature. For example, material excavated during the construction work is being used to create a wildlife reserve at Wallasea Island, eight miles north of Southend-on-Sea in Essex, which will be the largest and most important coastal habitat creation scheme in the UK.

Mr Wolstenholme will provide an outline the preservation work on archaeological sites in central London unearthed by the Crossrail works, one of the most extensive archaeological programmes ever undertaken in the UK. Its finds include prehistoric animal bones, Roman remains, human remains from the infamous ‘Bedlam’ psychiatric hospital and remnants of Britain’s industrial past.

The audience will also hear how Crossrail is being future-proofed, with allowances for anticipated increases in capacity, the trains will initially be fitted with 10 carriages, capable of carrying about 1,500 passengers in total, but the stations will be equipped with longer platforms for more carriages and a signalling system designed to cope with 25% more trains.

Notes for editors

  1. The Lloyd's Register Educational Trust Lecture will be held at 6pm for 6.30pm on Monday 23 September 2013 at Prince Philip House, 3 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5DG.
  2. The Lloyd's Register Foundation is a charity which supports the advancement of engineering-related education, and funds research and development that enhances safety of life at sea, on land and in the air. Although set up as a charity in 2012, our history dates back to 1760 through Lloyd's Register, a public benefit organisation in the marine and energy sectors. And we have been joined by The Lloyd's Register Educational Trust, a charity which has been operating since 2004.

    We currently fund activities in four categories that form a continuum of support from a young age. Engaging school children, supporting students studying for a first degree or a postgraduate course, people in work who are enhancing their knowledge and skills, and funding industry research programmes at existing or new 'centres of excellence' at universities and academic institutes. We fund specialist organisations that run programmes as this is a more effective way for us to promote our mission than making grants directly to individuals.
  3. Andrew Wolstenholme OBE FREng FICE FRICS joined Crossrail as chief executive in 2011. He was the programme director on Heathrow Airport’s £4.3 billion Terminal 5 before becoming BAA’s director of capital projects. After that, he joined Balfour Beatty as director of innovation and strategic capability. He is author of the report Never waste a good crisis – a challenge to the UK construction Industry assessing progress in the Rethinking Construction agenda designed to improve efficiency.
  4. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship - comprising the UK's most eminent engineers - provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain's engineering community.

For more information please contact

Giorgio De Faveri at The Royal Academy of Engineering
Tel. 020 7766 0655; email: Giorgio De Faveri