It’s come a long way since it was raw concrete and sand, and today was a chance for the public to go in and see what their new Elizabeth line station will look like when it opens in a few months time.
The tours are part of a final handover as the stations are handed over by Crossrail to TfL to finish fitting out and turn an engineering project into a live functioning railway.
Already tests in the tunnels are being run with live power and signals, and these will be progressively expanded over the next few months. In addition, despite some teething problems, tests of the line into Heathrow are still being carried out, and software issues with the many overlapping systems being ironed out.
As the handover carries on, over the next few months, a number of the new stations in central London will have a public preview day — today being Canary Wharf’s turn.
The station, with canary yellow detailing has had it’s upper floors open for a while now, but the lower three levels are where the Elizabeth line will be based. One floor for the usual retail outlets you expect in a train station these days, coffee shops, some coffee shops, and maybe a coffee shop or two.
One floor is for ticket sales in a vast circulation level and then down to the platforms themselves.
This was also the first chance to see in action on of the more innovative ideas from the new line, the use of the space above the platform doors for a massive light wall. This is practical, as it hides ventilation and electronics, but adds a dramatic effect, especially when coming down the escalators.
Hidden behind the plastic sheeting above the doors will be the digital displays showing which trains are arriving and when – the aim being to avoid any ceiling clutter distracting the view.
The key impression at the moment is the sheer size of the station, it’s as long as the main Canary Wharf skyscraper is tall — and if you go to the roof, the full length of the wooden canopy is as long as The Shard is tall.
Over the next few months, the final stages of the fit out will continue, and then in December, a final dusting down to open it up to the paying public.