The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway returns to BBC Two on Wednesday 13 February 2019. Full broadcast details and links to watch the previous series can be found on the BBC programme page. Explore all our related content below, plus download your free poster to accompany the programme.
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The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway
Ten thousand engineers and construction workers race to complete the Elizabeth line.
Available on BBC iPlayerBBC Two on Sunday
17th February 2019 at 7:00PM
In this series of The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway, we follow the 10,000 men and women tasked with building the new Elizabeth Line underground railway, formerly known as Crossrail, underneath the busy streets of Central London.
This fifteen-billion-pound construction project, one of Europe’s largest and most complex has only nine months left to finish fitting out and testing of all of its 10 new stations, 41 kilometers of twin-bored tunnels, and its fleet of 66 new trains, before the line is due to open to passengers. However, the closer the deadline gets, the more the schedule starts to slip.
We’re on the ground as the pressure and challenges facing its workforce begin to grow, from installing 10 tonne ventilation fans at Canary Wharf Station, fitting out platforms and concourses the size of an aircraft carriers under Oxford Street, and the mission to launch test trains into the tunnels - all while keeping London moving.
This series follows events leading up to the announcement that the Elizabeth Line will be delayed by over a year into 2020 and require a further £2 billion of funding. We’ll see how engineers must pull together, working on borrowed time, to restore their reputation, the reputation of the new railway, and the reputation of British engineering.
Series 3 - Episode 1
With exclusive access, this returning series follows the construction workers of Crossrail as they battle to finish the final stages of the new Elizabeth Line underground railway beneath the streets of London.
Costing over fifteen billion pounds and stretching 120km across the capital, this extraordinary construction project is one of the biggest in Europe and one of the most ambitious engineering feats in Britain since the time of Brunel.
Our cameras follow the engineers, technicians and train staff who are under pressure to complete their section of the project, including building and fitting out 10 brand new stations, learning to drive the new fleet of trains, and testing the 21-km twin tunnels beneath London, in a bid to make it safe for the public.
We join charismatic project manager Lih-Ling Highe, who is tasked with finishing construction of the new Tottenham Court Road Station - the largest station on the entire line and future gateway to 200,000 passengers a day. Coming from a long line of engineers, construction is in Lih-Ling’s DNA - in this episode, she must lead a team fitting out the station’s three-tonne platform screen doors to prevent passengers from falling under a train.
We also join new recruit Rochelle as she trains to become a driver of the new 200m long, 90mph trains that will carry up to 200 million passengers a year. We follow Rochelle through each nail-biting step of the course - from simulator training to getting behind the wheel of a real 265-tonne train.
- Series 3 - Episode 2
- Series 2 - Episode 1
- Series 2 - Episode 2
Why do we look on with adoration and amazement at some engineering creations while others leave us feeling indifferent? Dr Ian Johnston examines why some structures are worthy of their iconic status.
Read now ❯Iconic engineering: The Forth Bridge and Concorde
Download your free 'A City in the Making' poster to accompany the OU/BBC series 'The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway'.
Read now ❯Download your free poster, 'A City in the Making'
Why do we look on with adoration and amazement at some engineering creations while others leave us feeling indifferent? Dr Ian Johnston examines why some structures are worthy of their iconic status.Read now ❯Iconic engineering: The Forth Bridge and Concorde
Download your free 'A City in the Making' poster to accompany the OU/BBC series 'The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway'.Read now ❯Download your free poster, 'A City in the Making'
Pixabay under Creative-Commons license
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
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This module builds on the concepts and techniques inEngineering: origins, methods, context(T192). It begins by focusing on invention and innovation, and the advisory or legislative frameworks used to promote good practice and ensure safety. Examples of patents, standards and an energy case study are examined, providing a basis for introducing key topics in engineering and mathematics. Next, it takes you on a tour of modern manufacturing methods, and explores how these are related to properties of materials, product design, environmental sustainability and profitability. More advanced mathematical techniques, including basic calculus, are introduced and applied in an engineering context.Learn more ❯Engineering: frameworks, analysis, production
Our free courses
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The I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis in August 2007, resulting in at least 13 deaths, illustrates the importance of structural integrity. This free course, Introduction to structural integrity, looks at the investigation that followed the collapse of the Silver Bridge over the Ohio River in 1967 which demonstrates how the study of safe design and the assessment of components and structures under load is of increasing importance in engineering design.Learn more ❯Introduction to structural integrity
Dr Ian Johnston
Lecturer in Engineering and STEM Open Media Fellow
Dr Ian Johnston is an academic engineer and applied mathematician with a passion for taking science to the masses. His official research is in superconductivity, in which he has gained his doctorate. Hewas academic consultant to "Electric Dreams" and "Bang Goes The Theory".
Prof Jeff Johnson
Professor of Complexity Science & Design, STEM
Jeff is interested in the application of systems thinking and design in environmental, social and economic policy. He has worked on modules and courses in many areas including design, mathematics, artificial intelligence, robotics and engineering.
Dr Nick Bingham
Senior Lecturer in Geography, FASS
Nick's interest in taking seriously the role that non-human entitles (whether they are insects and microbes or technologies and data) play in social life has involved him researching topics as diverse as food safety, the bee crisis and smart cities.
Dr George Revill
Senior Lecturer in Geography, FASS
George has worked on a number of OU environmental and social science modules. Current research brings issues of sound, mobility, communication and landscape together in terms of acoustic geographies of space, place, landscape and environment.