It's been billed as the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, will cost more to complete than the London Olympics, and promises to drastically boost the speed and capacity of mass transit in that city and its surrounding area. Already, the half-finished construction of Crossrail — a mammoth railway system that will add 26 miles of underground tunnels to London — is yielding both disruption and development in affected communities.
In a sweeping overview of the construction efforts and their end game — a railway whose trains each transport 1,500 passengers between 24 and 30 times an hour — The Guardian examines how Crossrail is already having an impact. Above ground, the railway system is causing road closures and detours, and has the potential to drastically change property values and commercial development patterns. But below ground, at least for now, the massive project is running remarkably smoothly. "The atmosphere is calm and methodical, of routinely performing tasks that have been done thousands of times before, and with the fundamentally simple aim of getting from A to B," the piece reads. "If engineering is sometimes called an adventure, down here every effort seems to be made to neutralize it."