As the River Thames meanders eastward through London, it horseshoes around a lobe of land called the Isle of Dogs. In the 19th century, the area boasted one of the world’s busiest dock complexes, but by 1980 it had deteriorated into an industrial wasteland. More recently, thanks to massive redevelopment, the area has blossomed again to become Canary Wharf, an enclave of glittering glass skyscrapers that is now a global financial center. And here, in the murky waters of the North Dock, sits one of the largest and sleekest stations in London’s newest railway: Crossrail.
With a £14.8 billion (about US $21 billion) budget, Crossrail is currently the biggest engineering project in Europe. Since construction began in 2009, it has bored 42 kilometers of tunnels beneath Central London, creating a subsurface rail network that will speed passengers between the eastern and western fringes of the city. Its 40 stations, 10 of them completely new, will connect with existing National Rail and London Underground lines. The first Crossrail trains will start running in 2017, and when the network is fully open in 2019, it will shuttle an estimated 200 million passengers every year.