Crossrail is the ambitious plan to construct a new 73-mile railway line running east-west underneath London. It’s one of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe and has been designed to provide a way for commuters in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to reach Essex and south-east London without using the London Underground.
A total of 13 miles of tunnels need to be dug, 85 miles of railway track and several major stations to be overhauled. The scale of the project means that thousands of Crossrail jobs have been created. Many of them are in the construction sector, and while most are in London, there are also many more opportunities in other parts of the United Kingdom.
Where can I work on Crossrail?
Crossrail Ltd and its partner companies employ people at more than 40 different locations around central London alone. But there are many more places to work on the Crossrail project – the head office is in Canary Wharf, there are locations in the East of England such as Shenfield in Essex and Abbey Wood in south east London and others in the North West of England.
What sort of Crossrail jobs are available?
As with any infrastructure project, there is a heavy emphasis on construction jobs, with site engineers, quantity surveyors and construction managers in high demand.
- Site engineer.
Site engineers are responsible for managing the detail of construction projects and in the case of Crossrail this means opportunities in fitting out stations. Nothing can be overlooked – a site engineer needs to ensure all the walls and platforms are built properly, with tiles, windows and the right sort of bricks, as well as installing fire doors, escalators and lifts.
Being a site engineer means taking a meticulous approach to the job, providing regular daily updates on work progress, testing the materials to make sure they are right for the job, and inspecting all the work done by sub-contractors.
- Senior quantity surveyor.
In railway construction projects, a senior quantity surveyor’s job is to find and buy the right materials to get the job done at the lowest possible price. This is a vitally important role as the costs and requirements of major construction projects can change on a daily basis.
By managing sub-contractors, particularly through the use of contracts, a senior quantity surveyor can reduce the costs of Crossrail as far as possible. At the same time, they need to make sure that safety and the integrity of the construction is not compromised. Successful senior quantity surveyors need to have regular meetings with the project manager and senior management team at Crossrail and draw up strategies for getting value for money.
- Senior section engineer.
A section engineer is responsible for translating the plans from the page to the real world. For Crossrail, this means working either day or night in tunnelling or station construction, to make sure that the work is done as close as possible to the plans.
For the senior engineer, the day-to-day tasks involve overseeing all engineering work and reviewing each stage after it’s complete. With so many teams working on Crossrail, it’s also essential for a senior engineer to be able to work hand in glove with the other teams working at different times of day.
- Construction manager.
Crossrail’s construction managers are in charge of the teams of builders and construction workers who lay the bricks and pipes and steel that will eventually turn into stations, tunnels and platforms.
The construction manager needs to be able to deal well with people who are in his or her team, and also be able to effectively feed information back up the chain to the engineers and project leaders. This is particularly important if anything happens that means there is a need to deviate from the plans – for example if tunnelling has to slow down because of unforeseen obstacles.
Where can I find jobs like these?
Many of the major construction jobs are in central London as this is where the building work is being done. Quantity surveyors, site engineers and section engineers are needed on site and that means the City of London.
Some other jobs can be done elsewhere, so some quantity surveying work is available in Hertfordshire, while some rail contractors in the North West, in places like Merseyside, also require managers to work on Crossrail.