The Challenge

Crossrail is the biggest engineering project in Europe, running 118km from West to East London. SYSTRA is a member of the Project Delivery Partner team, working within the client's integrated programme management team to deliver the £14.8bn project.

Crossrail will deliver a major new suburban rail service for London and the South-East, running from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the West, through Central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the East, connecting 37 stations. It will connect the City, Canary Wharf, the West End and Heathrow Airport to commuter areas east and west of the capital and cut journey times from Paddington in the West End to the Isle of Dogs from 29 to 18 minutes. There is future provision for extensions to Reading in the West and the HS1 station at Ebbsfleet in the South East.

The Crossrail scheme will bring many benefits to London including developing its financial centre, supporting economic growth, improving rail access to London and reducing overcrowding on London Underground Lines. By 2026, employment in London is predicted to increase by 13% and population by 10% with most of this growth in the west and the east.

An estimated 200m passengers will travel on Crossrail each year, increasing the capital’s rail capacity by 10%.


Crossrail Limited appointed a Project Delivery Partner (PDP) to manage the delivery of the Crossrail project. This Bechtel Halcrow SYSTRA project team is now part of the integrated team, with the client and Transcend. It is responsible for managing the development of the detailed design, procurement, construction and commissioning and for managing the consultants and contractors through all phases of the project. 

SYSTRA’s primary role is to provide expertise in railway systems and operations, although we are involved in all aspects of the works including tunnelling, stations, electrical and mechanical and subsequently project management, design management and construction supervision. 

The key issue that SYSTRA has had to address is the complexity and scale of the project and we provide support to the client in managing this complexity and finding appropriate technical and organisational solutions. For example, we helped the client to make a choice of signalling system for the central section. The choice was between the European Train Control System currently being rolled out by Network Rail or a Communications-Based Train Control system (CBTC) of the type commonly deployed on new metros. 

As part of the consortium, SYSTRA acts as Project Manager for the delivery of the central section and its many interfaces.