The first section of track to be used by Crossrail trains has been laid on the new Stockley Flyover bridge.
The 120 metre long overpass, in the very busy Heathrow Airport Junction area, close to Rigby Lane Civic Amenity site in Hayes, will allow services on the £14.8billion Crossrail route to operate to and from Heathrow.
Matthew White, Surface Director at Crossrail said: “Installing the first section of Crossrail track is a major milestone for the project.
“The flyover at Stockley will provide a vital new link between Heathrow and London, significantly improving connections between the airport and the West End, the City and Canary Wharf.”
The flyover will be used by Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect services from next year.
Built by Network Rail and building firm Carillon, it is the largest single span bridge to have been installed anywhere on the Great Western railway since the days of Brunel.
Matthew Steele, Crossrail Programme Director at Network Rail said: “The Network Rail and Carillion teams are really proud to deliver the first section of new railway for Crossrail. Once Crossrail is operational, this brand new structure will enable us to increase the number of rail services between central London and Heathrow airport.
“After four years of planning is it great to see this new infrastructure being brought into service, well done to everyone involved.”
Crossrail services between London Paddington and Heathrow will begin in 2018. From 2019, the full route will open, allowing passengers to travel from Heathrow right through the centre of the capital without changing trains.
Up to four Crossrail trains an hour will link Heathrow with central London and beyond. Passengers will be able to reach Bond Street in 26 minutes and Canary Wharf in 40 minutes.
Crossrail will pass through 40 stations and run more than 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through 21km twin-bore tunnels below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.