5/18/12 11:04 AM

The first trainload of excavated material from Crossrail’s tunnels in west London has been transported to Northfleet in Kent.

The train, comprising 13 wagons, carried 492 tonnes of earth to the Lafarge site at Northfleet. It is the first laden train to operate between the two sites for nearly two decades and was made possible after Lafarge reinstated a 2.25km disused rail freight link from the North Kent Main Line.

Over the next month or so, two trains per week will run a return journey between the Crossrail tunnel entrance near Paddington and Northfleet. Later in the summer, the trains will double in size and run three times a day.

At the peak of tunnelling up to five freight trains per day will operate, carrying a total of 7,000 tonnes of earth and – in conjunction with boat-based removals – removing at least 50,000 lorry journeys from centralLondon.

Christopher Snelling