A group of fourth year undergraduate engineering students recently visited the Crossrail Liverpool Street station and tunnels site in London.
Opportunities to see Europe's largest construction project are rare, and so I really valued the opportunity to see the engineering behind the projectFourth-year undergraduate, Chris Chasty
The students were asked to write an essay on the sustainability considerations around a major civil engineering infrastructure project, and this group of students each chose to write about what is currently Europe’s largest underground construction project: Crossrail.
Crossrail is a major new cross-London rail link project stretching from Reading and Heathrow in the west, across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The scheme aims to improve travel across London, provide better connections and ease congestion. Liverpool Street station is undergoing major redevelopment to increase capacity, improve accessibility and upgrade interchanges as part of the building of Crossrail.
Ravi Kugananthan (Laing O’Rourke Project Engineer for Tunnels and Platforms) and Mark Bennett (Laing O’Rourke Construction Manager) took the students for a walk around the site of the future Liverpool Street ticket entrance, including foundation works and excavations of 25 metres to accommodate escalators that will connect with the station platforms as well as deep underground into the newest additions to London’s vast tunnelling network. They were then able to talk to Joel Harland, who is currently on a graduate scheme, about his role on the project and his experience in industry since graduation.
Visits such as this provide students with an opportunity to understand how they can use what they have learned in the Department undergraduate course to work on exciting construction projects whilst understanding their impacts on society as engineers. This particular trip was organised by Sakthy Selvakumaran a Department of Engineering alumna who has gone on to work in different design, delivery and R&D roles for the Crossrail project, providing an example of where a career that started off in the Department of Engineering can take students.
The Sustainable Development coursework aims to develop the students’ understanding of the wider issues relating to sustainable development with respect to implementation. Having done research and reading about the project and various initiatives taken by Crossrail, the students were invited to visit the Liverpool Street Station and tunnels live site, and chat to staff currently working on the scheme about their role, site activities and the wider implications of the Crossrail scheme.
"The tour of the Liverpool Street site of Crossrail was fascinating, and really got me thinking about the sheer scale of the engineering challenge that Crossrail presents. Opportunities to see Europe's largest construction project are rare, and so I really valued the opportunity to see the engineering behind the project"
Fourth-year undergraduate, Chris Chasty
"It was only when I descended into the vast tunnels that I was finally able to appreciate the sheer scale of the project."
"I was struck by the pervasive adoption of sustainability practices which extended from the site offices to the tunnels tens of meters below."
Fourth-year undergraduate, Jimi Oluwole
I found the experience really interesting, especially to hear directly from staff working on Crossrail talking about their work, giving a human face to the sustainability report we're reading
Fourth-year undergraduate, Sarah Wong