The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway: Series 3, Under Pressure Over Budget

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Technology Documentary hosted by Julian Barratt, published by BBC in 2019 - English narration

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Image: The-15-Billion-Pound-Railway-Under-Pressure-Over-Budget-Cover.jpg

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Follows the construction workers of Crossrail as they battle to finish the final stages of the new Elizabeth Line underground railway beneath the streets of London.

Costing over fifteen billion pounds and stretching 120km across the capital, this extraordinary construction project is one of the biggest in Europe and one of the most ambitious engineering feats in Britain since the time of Brunel.

[edit] Chapter 1:

Our cameras follow the engineers, technicians and train staff who are under pressure to complete their section of the project, including building and fitting out ten brand new stations, learning to drive the new fleet of trains, and testing the 21km twin tunnels beneath London, in a bid to make it safe for the public.

We join Danny O'Connell, Crossrail's testing manager, as he leads a critical operation to launch the very first train into the new Elizabeth Line tunnels under London. Danny is responsible for trialling and testing all aspects of the railway performance – from communications, CCTV and platform doors, to the trains, tracks and signalling systems. If Danny can't complete all of the hundreds of tests needed to prove that it's safe and reliable, the railway won't open on time.

We join charismatic project manager Lih-Ling Highe, who is tasked with finishing construction of the new Tottenham Court Road Station - the largest station on the entire line and future gateway to 200,000 passengers a day. Coming from a long line of engineers, construction is in Lih-Ling's DNA - in this episode, she must lead a team fitting out the station's three-tonne platform screen doors to prevent passengers from falling under a train.

In the financial heart of London, the Elizabeth Line's new Canary Wharf Station looks to welcome up to 100,000 passengers a day. In charge of the station's mechanical and electrical fit out is young engineer Felix Ahatty, whose biggest task is to transport and install three huge 10-tonne ventilation fans. Hauling them through the city at night, and then getting them down through the station levels, is a complex mission - even with the help of cranes, rail systems, and ‘hover' pads to push it into position.

We also join new recruit Rochelle as she trains to become a driver of the new 200m-long, 90mph trains that will carry up to 200 million passengers a year. We follow Rochelle through each nail-biting step of the course - from simulator training to getting behind the wheel of a real 265-tonne train.

[edit] Chapter 2:

Our cameras pick up immediately after the shock news that the Elizabeth Line has been delayed by over a year and will cost hundreds of millions of pounds more than planned. The show discovers how engineers, technicians and train staff must pull together - working on borrowed time - to build and fit out ten brand new stations, learn to operate the new trains, and test out the new 21-km twin tunnels under London, before it can open to the public. At stake are the reputation of the engineers, the reputation of the new railway and the reputation of British engineering.

Project manager Lih-Ling Highe is back to lead the installation of thousands of kilometres of vital power cables through the largest station on the Elizabeth Line – Tottenham Court Road. Tottenham Court Road is also expected to be one of the busiest underground stations attracting 200,000 passengers a day. If the cables are damaged or incorrectly wired, the station cannot be switched on and the project will be delayed once more.

At Bond Street Station, beneath London's most expensive shopping street, Tim Weihen and his team are tasked with installing three 65-metre-long escalators - the longest on the railway – in the tightest of shafts so passengers can get to the trains. In a nail-biting process, the team must lower the bulky escalator sections, weighing up to seven tonnes, over the edge of a 30-degree drop in order to build all three escalators on time.

One of the world's most famous train stations - Paddington Station – is getting a new Elizabeth Line station hub next door, and site manager Cynthia Myndhardt is in charge of building and fitting it out. The most daring feature of the station is a 130m-long great glass canopy to soar above the site, and help plug it into Brunel's original grade one listed station – a nerve-wracking feat considering any damage to the historic building could result in a prison sentence.

The show also meets up with new recruit Rochelle as she continues her quest to become an Elizabeth Line driver. We follow her on her most nerve-wracking challenge to date – driving 1,500 passengers from Shenfield, Essex, to central London - in rush hour. Ahead of her lies 32km of busy track, 73 warning signals and 16 strict speed restrictions to follow, all of which must be intensely monitored along her route.

The episode ends with the a second, shock announcement that the project must delay again and that an even bigger bailout of £2 billion is needed. With station construction, tunnel fit out and train testing still incomplete, the fate of the now £17 billion-pound railway hangs in the balance.

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: x265 CABAC Main@L4
  • Video Bitrate: CRF 21 (~2648Kbps)
  • Video Resolution: 1920x1080
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Frame Rate: 25 FPS
  • Audio Codec: AAC-LC
  • Audio Bitrate: 128Kbps CVBR 48KHz (222Kbps peak)
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 2 x 59 mins
  • Number Of Parts: 1 (2 chapters)
  • Part Size: 2.29 GB
  • Source: HDTV
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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