Iíve seen a few parts of Crossrail before and have to say this one was absolutely the best one. It was also the one we were really keen to visit. It took a while to find the best approach. Even if the Crossrail site looks empty above the ground, itís still quite likely to meet some workers underground. Also it wasnít one of those visits when you just run down the shaft to take a few shots of the tunnels, we had to walk for quite a long distance to get to our destination.
Stepney Green caverns are something special. They are one of the largest mined caverns ever constructed in Europe using a tunnelling technique called Spray Concrete Lining. Each cavern is approx 50m long, 13.4m wide and 16.6m high at its widest point. To construct the cavern, the team had to excavate 7500m3 of material and apply 2500m3 shotcrete to the walls. Stepney Green will have a critical role to play when Crossrail opens; it is where the railway divides with the southeast spur running underground to Plumstead and then onto Abbey Wood via Canary Wharf and the north east spur running underground to Pudding Mill and then onto Shenfield in Essex. (source Ė crossrail.co.uk.
Here is a map showing the parts we visited that night (some of them werenít planned, before we finally got to Stepney Green Junction. It was a long way back when we realised how close we are to Pudding Mill Lane Portal.
After running nine levels down we finally found ourselves in the tunnel. And there was not a single sign showing directions that we could follow. It was left or right and we did choose wrong (how typical!).
We had to stay alert for a long time, walking or running and stopping from time to time to listen to all the creepy noises that always sound like some workers voices and then again, carry on walking. But it paid off a big time.
Stepney Green Junction looks astonishing, Iíve never seen such a huge underground construction. The cavern is really impressive and the shaft is like never ending.
Stepney Green Junction
Stepney Green Junction Shaft
Eleanor St Shaft
Mile End Park Shaft
Tunnel towards Whitechapel
Somewhere between Eleanor St and Mile End Park Shaft
And again seeing Stepney Green Junction was a truly unforgettable experience, one of those long, full of excitement nights in