george matthews wrote:Crossrail will connect with Reading in the west, and also with Heathrow airport.
And with Shenfield in the east. I used to travel to school every day on part of the old Liverpool Street to Shenfield line. It'll be interesting to see Crossrail passing through the stations of my youth such as Ilford, Romford, Gidea Park and Brentwood. All the years I was growing up in east London and then visiting my parents there later after I had left home, we hated having to go westwards, including Heathrow Airport, because there was no quick and convenient route by either road or rail. You had to allow three or four hours to get from home to Heathrow and vice versa. Crossrail would have been so useful. Ironic that they waited until I no longer had any links whatsoever with Ilford before they built the bloody thing! But I understand that the commercial interest in east London is Docklands, which will now have a quick and easy link to the West End, Heathrow and Reading.
There's still a conflict over the Heathrow link as apparently BAA are demanding an exorbitant fee to allow Crossrail to run over its private metals into the airport station, and Crossrail is refusing.
the power will be delivered by overhead cable - unlike the third and fourth rails used in the traditional Underground
Correct, it is 25kv AC overhead wires. These already exist at the eastern and westen ends (all the way to Shenfield in the east, and at least as far as Heathrow and probably Reading by now in the west). I don't think there is any real comparison between Crossrail and the traditional Underground except that they are both under the ground. Crossrail is a "normal" fast railway operation which just happens to be in a tunnel for part of its route (including a handful of stations).