In an increasingly interconnected world, innovative public transportation has become a necessity. Throughout Europe, especially in metropolitan areas, public transportation plays a huge role in getting people from point a to point b. Not only is public transportation usually free or very cheap, but in Europe it is becoming increasingly more efficient.
The London metro area, specifically, is on the verge of having one of the world’s most accessible rail systems. The new railway, which will be known as the Elizabeth Line, will become operational in 2018 (1). Crossrail Ltd, the company backing the project, has been working on this rail system for over 7 years. The progress over this time period has led to phenomenal results; 10 new stations are in development, containing top of the line artwork, modern building designs, innovative structures, and strategic placement. On top of new railway stations, Crossrail will also make upgrades to 30 more stations in the greater London metro area (1).
In addition to beautiful artwork and design, the placement, speed, and accessibility of the Elizabeth Line will make it a one of a kind transportation system. 24 trains, spanning a length of 650 feet each, will run every hour and in every direction (1). The railway will likely reduce traffic and congestion in the city’s most busy areas, including the business and leisure districts. Furthermore, the Elizabeth Line will connect citizens of London’s outer suburbs to major inner-city areas in a more fashionable time frame. The Elizabeth Lines’ dual integration system will allow travelers to connect to the already existent forms of rail systems, including London Underground and National Rail (1). Londoners are anxiously awaiting the Elizabeth Lines’ arrival, considering it presents the option to travel the city in a timelier manner.
The construction of the Elizabeth Line, however, is no easy task: it has both historical and obstructive implications. Lying directly below the new Liverpool Street station for the Elizabeth Line are approximately 3,000 individual skeletons. These ancient corpses lie in what is called the Bedlam Burial Ground. It is believed that this burial ground contains so many corpses due to a case of ancient bubonic plague. In the hopes of maintaining a portion of history and studying the corpses, it is required that hundreds of archaeologists carefully dig up the bodies before the construction resumes. Analyzing and storing 3,000 corpses is no easy task, and will certainly present a barrier to Crossrail’s goal of staying on schedule. Crossrail’s impressive construction techniques, visual renderings, and outsourcing of construction, however, suggests that they are up to the task.
The Elizabeth Line will have a lasting skills legacy and a highly positive impact on the economic position of the United Kingdom. More than 550 apprentices have been trained in a range of disciplines, including construction and quantity surveying throughout the project (1). Teaching younger adults the techniques used in the construction of the Elizabeth Line will allow further generations to reconstruct innovative wonders in a similar fashion and quality. In terms of the economic impact the Elizabeth Line will have on the United Kingdom, the benefits are vast. It is expected that this project will have created the equivalent of 55,000 full-time jobs during the course of its construction, and that it will add $55 billion to the United Kingdom’s economy. These projected economic and employment prosperities are coming in a critical time for the nation. With Brexit on the horizon, any money and jobs that are added to the nation’s economic sector will provide more breathing room for the UK in rebuilding their nation from an independent standpoint. Elizabeth Line is proof that an innovative approach to public transportation can serve benefits beyond the common eye, even supporting the heart of a country’s economy.
(1) Barker, John. “Crossrail Transforms London Transport to Move Millions.”Metro, Metro Magazine, 20 Sept. 2016, http://www.metro- magazine.com/rail/article/715511/crossrail-transforms-london-transport-to-move-millions
(2) Crossrail Project. “Crossrail Archaeology: Bedlam Dig Begins at Liverpool Street Station.” YouTube, commentary by Jay Carver, 10 Mar. 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgri-kerlom.
Image:© Phartisan | Dreamstime.com - London,5, 11th, 2015 Waterloo Underground Station