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Paddington Crossrail

Description of Works

FM Conway is readying London Paddington for the arrival of the new Elizabeth Line with a high-quality public realm project set to welcome the world to the new-look station. As part of London’s £15 billion Crossrail project – one of Europe’s largest construction schemes – the company’s Civil Engineering team will ensure development of the new Elizabeth Line station will match the ambition and prestige of the new railway itself.

The team will support the development of the public realm at Paddington Station, where a new Elizabeth Line station is being built to the south of the existing 19th-century building, below Eastbourne Terrace and Departures Road.

This will be Paddington station’s most significant transformation since the completion of the original building in 1853, with the aim to increase capacity at such a busy terminus for local, regional and international passengers.

Services used on this project Major Projects Surfacing Structures
Delivering Innovation

Working to principal contractor Costain/Skanska, FM Conway is tasked with demolishing the temporary surfaces and structures used to construct the new station, before delivering associated groundworks, hard landscaping and paving for a pedestrianised public area to access the new and existing stations.

The project will see the team work on some difficult designs at the London station to install 7,000 m2 of high-quality granite paving, delivering a durable public realm for the next 150 years.

Joe Jarvis, Site Manager, explains: 

“The paving design contains some of the most complex patterns we have ever laid, reflecting the emphasis on design across the Crossrail project. A typical 10 m2 pavement cross section contains up to 75 different types of granite, ranging in dimensions and colours, all boarded with stainless steel restraints to create a striking aesthetic.”

Next came the installation of new watermains and a deep drainage system, with support from FM Conway’s cleansing team to survey new and existing drain networks, alongside the laying of power and communications connections for the new station. 

Being mindful to minimise the load on the tunnel and station infrastructure below ground, the team capped these services with a lightweight expanded clay material, specially imported from Norway, to backfill up to the formation level. This was followed by 3,000 tonnes of FM Conway’s recycled type-1 sub-base mix and a jointed reinforced concrete slab base.

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It has been fantastic to see FM Conway’s different strengths coming together to deliver the works, as well as working closely with the other Crossrail contractors and partners. Good coordination is vital for a project of this scale.

Joe Jarvis - Site Manager at FM Conway
Challenges and Solutions

The main issue the project faced was ensuring the works would remain durable, with a high footfall expected on the area.

Once the new line has opened, the station is expected to see:

  • 174,000 passengers predicted per day on the Elizabeth line
  • 34 trains per hour (peak, 24 east and 10 west)
  • And will serve as an interchange for Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City lines and National Rail

Initially, 15 trains an hour will run through the new Elizabeth line tunnels, rising to 24 an hour in the central section by May 2019. When the line is fully operational, 20 trains an hour will run off-peak services between Paddington and Whitechapel. A further two trains an hour will operate between Paddington and Shenfield, and between Paddington and Abbey Wood during off-peak hours.

Peak services to destinations west of Paddington will be improved significantly, with services from Reading doubled from two to four trains an hour, and services to Maidenhead increased from four to six. Trains will also call at Heathrow Terminal 5, meaning all Heathrow terminals will be served by the Elizabeth line.

The scale of the project has called for FM Conway to draw on expertise from across the business to deliver the project. Alongside its master paviors, this has included working closely with the lighting, surfacing, consultancy and traffic management divisions to ensure the works are carried out on time and to a high specification.

Joe adds: “This project has been one of the most challenging, yet exciting of my career. It has been fantastic to see FM Conway’s different strengths coming together to deliver the works, as well as working closely with the other Crossrail contractors and partners. Good coordination is vital for a project of this scale. Even the logistics of transporting materials to this compact central London site has had to be carefully planned.”

Throughout the project, the team also faced a further challenge in the form of the site’s historic location, as it was vital that the site’s famous grandeur was treated with the utmost respect.

By working with a specialist partner, FM Conway was careful to protect Paddington’s Grade-1 listed station building and existing Royal Mail tunnels during the demolition of reinforced concrete structures on site, adhering to strict vibration and noise restrictions. 

Joe continues: “The nature of FM Conway’s work in the capital means that we often need to accommodate historic buildings, existing infrastructure, and even national monuments. The project at Paddington is no different.”  




Due to a successful coordination of all of FM Conway’s relevant divisions, the team was able to ensure the project has been carried out to the highest order. The business’ procurement and materials testing teams have ensured that every material used on the scheme, from the smallest bolt to a new tree, meets Crossrail’s rigorous requirements.