Three years before the trains arrive, London’s new Crossrail railway line celebrates a milestone on Friday when the flagship Canary Wharf station building and roof gardens open to the public.
From Friday, there will be four floors of shopping and restaurants, with a cinema, gym, rooftop garden and stage — all designed by the architect Foster and Partners.
The arrival of trains at the underground station in 2018 will underpin a near-doubling of the capital’s Canary Wharf population over the next 10 years, or another 100,000 people.
The 85-mile Crossrail line will stretch from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east and expects to bring an extra 1.5m people within 45 minutes reach of central London.
The six-storey high, 256-metre long concrete “station” box at Canary Wharf has been built in the middle of a former dock.
Overall, it is longer than Canary Wharf’s One Canada Square tower if it was laid on its side.
Given the proximity of the trading floors of HSBC and Bank of America, Japanese hydraulic piling machines were used to drill the 400 steel pipes into the water because this reduced the chances of shaking nearby buildings.
More than 20,000 apartments within 10 minutes walk of the station are already under construction or have planning consent.
In the centre of Canary Wharf itself, there will be 3,200 flats by the end of 2019.
Developers have paid £150m towards the £500m cost of the station. The remaining £350m has come from the taxpayer.
Michael Bryant, operations executive for Canary Wharf Group, commented that the underground project was a “good example of the private and public sector working together to deliver infrastructure”.
Construction on the project started in 2009 and a National Audit Office report last year estimated that the works would generate £1.97 in benefits for every £1 spent.
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