We’ve looked at various elements of London’s transport infrastructure from the air before – now it’s Crossrail’s turn.

With the exception of the Connaught Tunnel approach, the photos below broadly divide into tunnelling portals and stations. The photos highlight the variety of sites Crosssrail features – some long, some compact.

The station shots, particularly those focused on the stations in the central section, also highlight how tight space is within the Capital. This is something we’ve covered before, notably when we last looked at Tottenham Court Road in detail, but the images of Bond Street help show just how complex the logistics of building new infrastructure in an old city can be.

The Portals

The Connaught Tunnel is not a Portal site, but the photo below was too good not to include here, as it shows nicely the path of the DLR over the tunnel approach.

The Connaught Tunnel Approach

The Connaught Tunnel Approach

With regards to the portals themselves, Royal Oak is probably the site we have spent the most time at lately, mainly due to the presence of the first Crossrail Tunnel Boring Machines.

The Westbourne Park Site

Westbourne Park/Royal Oak Site

The View From the Other Side

The View From the Other Side

At the other end of London Pudding Mill Lane portal, pictured below, sits next to the new Olympic Park.

Pudding Mill Lane

Pudding Mill Lane

Meanwhile the Plumstead and North Woolwich sites site astride the Thames. It is between these two sites that Crossrail’s own Thames Tunnel will be driven.

Crossrail's Plumstead Work Site

Crossrail’s Plumstead Work Site

The North Woolwich Work Site

The North Woolwich Work Site

The Stations

Sitting outside the central section, Canary Wharf is an interesting example of a “cut and cover” station where some of the material “cut” is water.

Canary Wharf Work Site

Canary Wharf Work Site

Heading east, Whitechapel features perhaps the longest work site to be found within the Capital itself. As with the Bond Street and Liverpool Street photos that follow, Whitechapel shows just how tight the working spaces are within the city.

Crossrail at Whitechapel

Crossrail at Whitechapel

Moving westwards, Finsbury Circus represents perhaps the most incongruous of the Crossrail sites. This will shortly become a major work site for access to the plaform tunnels at Liverpool Street.

Crossrail at Finsbury Circus

Crossrail at Finsbury Circus

Liverpool Street itself can be seen below, with work on the Western Ticket Hall particularly prominent.

Liverpool Street (Western Ticket Hall)

Liverpool Street (Western Ticket Hall)

Further west again, the photo below gives a nice view of the changes taking place at Farringdon.

Farringdon from the Air

Farringdon from the Air

In the heart of the city, the sites are far more cramped. The photos below show Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, both of which have multiple work sites.

Tottenham Court Road (Eastern Ticket Hall)

Tottenham Court Road (Eastern Ticket Hall)

Tottenham Court Road (Western Ticket Hall)

Tottenham Court Road (Western Ticket Hall)

Bond Street (Eastern Ticket Hall)

Bond Street (Eastern Ticket Hall)

Bond Street (Western Ticket Hall)

Bond Street (Western Ticket Hall)

Finally Paddington, like Farringdon, is a station undergoing much change.

Paddington, With Work Visible on the Left

Paddington, with Work Visible on the Left

Paddington from the Front

Paddington from the Front

A Closer View of the Work

A Closer View of the Work

jump to the end
There are 25 comments on this article
  1. Anonymous says:

    Fascinating stuff.

  2. Mike R says:

    Great stuff. I just regret they kept Centre Point, missing a good chance to get rid of that dull grey structure.

  3. NLW says:

    The final Paddington photo looked to me like a ‘road to nowhere’ at first glance!

  4. Mike P says:

    Hey !!! You missed the Eastern Ticket Hall at Farringdon. That’s moved on apace in the last few weeks.

    Having said that, a great set of photos.

  5. Pete In US says:

    I love photos from the air. Wonderful stuff!


  6. Pete Stean says:

    God forgive me for saying it, but I’m secretly hoping that a building will fall into a hole somewhere along the route, as very nearly happened when they were tunneling under Stratford…

  7. Fandroid says:

    Great pics.
    However, the Paddington pictures puzzled me until I realised that the worksite shown is the enabling works on the canal side of the station, not the Crossrail station site which will be in Departures Road on the opposite side. The works shown have allowed taxis to be shifted out of the way and eventually will also provide a new entrance to the Hammersmith & City platforms. Presumably, now that those taxis have gone, the Crossrail station site is being got ready for action?

  8. timbeau says:

    @pete Stean

    That actually did happen when they were building the Heathrow Express tunnels in 1994 – the building concerned was the HEx project team’s own site office!

  9. OgTheDim says:

    This is the transit progress that I so desparately need.

  10. Josh says:

    Have they started tunnelling yet? They said “next week” about three weeks ago now, but all has gone quiet.

  11. OtherNick says:

    Are there no lengths to which our trusty London Reconnections correspondents will not go to bring us a good photo? Can we expect them to be burrowing like moles to bring us close up pictures of the TBMs at work? or perhaps diving recklessly into the Thames or Victoria dock to see the progress of work in the tunnels beneath them? Whichever, we are very grateful – thank you!

  12. MiaM says:


    Are there any map web site that has pictures like theese (but perhaps not as up to date)?

    In Sweden atleast one map site has a mode where you can see picturels like those above (but usually with more detail). Check out , search for a known place like Stockholm, zoom in somewhere and select “utsikt” from the menu. You can select from viewing from the norht, south, east or west. Quite handy if you for example like to check how stuff like bridges e.t.c. are buildt.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Maybe there’s a been a hitch with the TBM. Must go down on the H&C, and see if it’s shifted down the tunnel… If it’s been chewing for a week now, it should have done 100 metres – if I recall correctly.

  14. Ratty says:

    Ok, I’ll ask: How did you get the photos? Did you borrow Mwmbwls jetpack?

    They are great, thanks. It’s not fair of me, but I can’t help wondering if you have higher resolution versions of them we might see.

  15. Anonymous says:

    MiaM: “Are there any map web site that has pictures like theese (but perhaps not as up to date)?”

    The maps on Bing (Microsoft’s Google rival) have a “bird’s eye” option gives the same sort-of angles and allows you to switch between north, south, east, and west views.

  16. MiaM says:

    Thanks to [email protected]:03PM !

  17. GMR says:

    Great pics, thanks. Keep the Crossrail updates coming.

  18. Greg Tingey says:

    One problem withBing maps – especially in London.
    Horribly out of date,
    NO NLL extension shown, the view of Stratford is now 3 years old …….

  19. PhilD says:

    Ratty asked ‘How did you get the photos? Did you borrow Mwmbwls jetpack?’

    no no no, nothing so Bond-esque. Instead it was a series of low passes made by the London Reconnections private jet, as it whisked our esteemed correspondents off to yet another fabulous party in Monte Carlo. There’d be more pictures, but the vintage champagne was starting to have an effect so the shots came out a bit blurry.*
    Seriously, they’re great pictures, helps get a sense of the sheer scale of the whole project.

    *It’s true, I read it on the internet

  20. ec1snapper says:

    Great pics – check out the olympic webcam – in the foreground you can see the new Pudding Mill Station line being built to clear the area for the Crossrail works.

  21. John Bull says:

    I know Phyllis has been moved up to the tunnel head. I don’t reckon she’s moved forward from there yet though, mainly because there’s no Crossrail press-release proudly announcing it (which is what I’d expect).

    With regards to the photos, the big infracos (e.g. Network Rail) and Crossrail have choppers in the air more than most people realise. Just as aerial archaeology has a habit of highlighting stuff that is easily missed on the ground, so does aerial surveying – hence why they do it.

    We realised a while back that these surveys must generate images that then get filed away somewhere and never really seen (because the mainstream media understandably aren’t massively interested in them), and so now whenever we find out someone’s had a chopper up we pester them incessantly for copies of the pictures.

    Indeed these days, to both Network Rail and Crossrail’s credit, they’re both now pretty good at proactively sending us any decent photos they get – sometimes even before we’ve spotted they had a chopper up and have had a chance to ask!

    Some creative thinking in the past has gotten us some other sources for photos such as this – you’d be surprised how often the RAF are above London (and what the offer of a pint can get you), and there’s an amusing Zeppelin related story that, if you catch an LR team member in the pub at some point, you may well hear – but if anyone ever has access to or ideas as to how to get more we’re always open to them.

    Finally, for OtherNick’s benefit, I feel obliged to point out that it is my determined intention to one day get us some pictures from the MiniSub Network Rail have a share in. No amount of pestering has yielded results there yet though.

  22. Alan Griffiths says:

    Greg Tingey06:55AM, 5th April 2012

    ” view of Stratford is now ” as seen on this link


  23. Dave says:

    The picture of Liverpool Street (Western Ticket Hall), is actually a photo directly outside Moorgate underground station – a good half mile from Liverpool Street. In fact your photo of Finsbury Circus is closer to Liverpool Street.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Dave, the Liverpool Street crossrail station sits between the existing Liverpool Street and Moorgate stations and connects to them both. It may be outside Moorgate station, but it is still the western end of the Liverpool Street crossrail station.

    Similarly the Farringdon crossrail station connects to both Farringdon and Barbican.

    Anonymous 2

  25. Anonymous says:

    The Finsbury Circus shot is fantastic.

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