Crossrail is the biggest expansion of London’s railways since WWII, creating a route that extends between east and west of the city and dubbed the Elizabeth Line.

Costs have reached nearly over 16 billion pounds to date and is by far the largest construction project in Europe with the creation of 13 miles of rail tunnels. Scheduled to open in December of 2018, delays for safety have pushed that to sometime near the end of 2019.

Under construction for almost a decade, the concept for Crossrail actually goes back to the Victorian Era. Though connecting East and West London with an over ground line between stations was never realized, it was also never fully forgotten.

Through a series of governmental agency changes over the years to who had the authority to approve such a monumental project, and the rising and falling fortunes of different political parties who themselves grappled with recessions, the idea was tabled until 2008 until funding was secured. In 2009 the tunneling began in earnest.

Crossrail expects that an estimated 200 million passengers will use the Elizabeth Line every year as the capital’s rail capacity is increased by 10%.

Crossrail also expects the project will offset costs by delivering 42 billion pounds of benefit to the economy, 55,000 full-time jobs, and a further 75,000 business opportunities during its construction.

The benefits to commuters are also expected to be substantial by allowing 1.5 million more people to reach central London in 45 minutes.

A Crossrail 2 project is designed to improve connections between London and counties Surrey to the south and Hertfordshire to the north. Once permission has been granted, work is expected to start in 2023 and with an opening planned for some time in the early 2030’s. That project’s cost has been estimated to reach almost 32 billion pounds.