“The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway” – BBC Two, 9 pm 30th July

July 28, 2014

Further to last weeks’ news item about the massive and ongoing Crossrail project in London, BBC Two is broadcasting a documentary at 9 pm on Wednesday 30th July about another component of the project.

In particular, it is due to describe the tunnel construction beneath the former West India Docks North adjacent to Canary Wharf. Whilst this programme, the third and final part in a series of three, describes the actual station construction, we can be proud that our staff were involved in this high-profile and highly successful project.

RIL staff had previously been involved in an earlier high-resolution over-water seismic survey of the docks, but this later project involved re-analysing a small subset of the data to an even higher vertical resolution. RIL’s involvement in 2011 was to help image key geological interfaces to ensure that the tunnel boring machines would not puncture through impermeable clay into saturated sediments above the tunnel route. The ultra-high resolution seismic interpretation and 3D Ground Model we produced enabled Crossrail engineers and contractors to guide the twin tunnel boring machines with a vertical precision of better than 30 cm, leading to successful breakthroughs into the new station box. We were later able to determine that the seismic data cross-correlated with the observed construction logs to better than 15 cm. This was the first time that detailed seismic interpretations, integrated with geotechnical analysis, had been incorporated into such a high-resolution 3D Ground Model that also displayed the engineering designs in the same 3D visualisations.

Our involvement in the Crossrail project has a continuing legacy in that it, and subsequent involvement in the similarly high-profile Thames Tideway Project, has led to the development of an industry-leading workflow to manage the data journey of high-resolution seismic data and integrate them with geotechnical results from intrusive ground investigations and lab testing to form sophisticated dynamic 3D Ground Models. This workflow has been highly successful in recent years in the offshore renewables sector, and is undergoing continual improvement. Watch out for news in the coming weeks about an announcement concerning this workflow.