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London is one of the busiest and most densely populated cities in the world. With millions of people commuting into the city and using its transport networks every day, the task of keeping these services running on time is only set to become more complicated as London’s population increases from 8.6 to 10 million by 2030. With many trains already operating at capacity, it’s time for growth.
Fortunately, change is afoot, and for the ambitious railway engineer, there are plenty of opportunities ahead. With multiple new projects recently having been announced by Network Rail and the Mayor of London’s office, the future looks exciting, and there’s no better time to get involved than now.
Here are some of the most important changes ahead for London’s Rail network, and what they mean for you.
Crossrail 2 is arguably one of the most ambitious projects to take shape in recent years. With a recent government report stating that the scheme will provide a £150bn boost to the UK’s economy and carry 270,000 extra people in and out of the capital during peak hours, Crossrail 2 aims to link the National Rail network across Surrey and Hertfordshire to London with an underground tunnel that would stop at many major stations across the capital, including Euston and Tottenham Court Road.
Though the project hasn’t yet been given government approval, it’s highly likely that it will go ahead and will be operational by the early 2030s, opening new routes into London and- more importantly- creating thousands of jobs for engineers. Indeed, the government estimates that Crossrail 2 would support 60,000 new jobs during the construction phase alone. It has already been called one of the largest engineering projects in Europe, and for good reason. Engineers will be needed to build new underground stations, renovate existing ones, drill new tunnels and build vast new sections of new track; in fact, it’s the perfect opportunity for Site Engineers, specialists in Civil Infrastructure, Tunnelling and more to get involved.
Expanding London’s transport network south
That’s not all, though. It’s long been a running joke that London has hardly any transport systems south of the river, but this might be about to change: alongside the Elizabeth Line, which is currently undergoing construction, the Mayor of London’s office has also proposed a south-eastern extension to the Bakerloo line, ultimately ending in Lewisham, with discussions due to start in 2019. TfL has also proposed plans for a South London Metro that would take over suburban rail services operating south of the capital and consolidate them into one system. Eventually, they’d be incorporated into London’s Overground network.
Following the completion of the Elizabeth Line, there are also engineering opportunities for people who prefer to work above ground. TfL wants to build on the increased accessibility offered by the new Elizabeth Line to extend the Overground to Barking Riverside in the next few years, potentially creating another 50,000 jobs in the process. The end result will be a train service that supplies the south and east of London with regular transport, whilst also making it possible for commuters to travel around the capital, rather than going through the crammed centre.
What does this mean for Rail engineers looking for their next job opportunity? Though these projects are only in the early stages of development, they will create long-term job opportunities for many people working in Rail, especially for professionals who specialise in areas like Electrics and Tunnelling. Indeed, the push to expand and upgrade London’s underground might well be the perfect future opportunity for you to get involved in an extensive project that will help benefit thousands of people every day- and let you get to grips with one of the largest transport systems in the world.
The push for sustainability
Sustainability remains a central project for the government, and one that’s influencing Rail in surprising ways. The Sustainable Rail Programme is setting the bar for companies and projects around London, publishing a set of standards against which teams can measure themselves and improve- which many are. Thameslink recently debuted 700 new train carriages which are due to be 20% lighter, and use a third less energy, than their predecessors. In addition to this, the idea of battery-powered trains is also being floated, with preliminary tests having proved they’re a viable option for Rail companies, especially after the launch of the world’s first hydrogen-powered train in Germany earlier this year.
With Rail experimenting with new ways to go greener, this opens up intriguing new possibilities for Rail engineers looking to specialise in electrifying stretches of the UK’s railway lines or find new solutions to decrease the carbon footprint of our transport network. With the Elizabeth Line’s new maintenance depot boasting geothermal energy and solar panels, it’s clear that the demand for green rail transport will only grow, creating an exciting new niche for Rail engineers wanting to expand their skillset.
The future of employment
At PSR Recruitment, we’re excited to see what the future holds for London’s railway networks, and we want you to be a part of it. Get involved today: browse our jobs in Rail around London, or take a look at our blog for more insights into Rail, construction and more.
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