LONDON — Female engineers from Bechtel have helped to ensure the on-time completion of tunnelling on Crossrail, the largest engineering project in Europe. Bechtel is Crossrail’s delivery partner, responsible for programme managing the delivery of the new railway line through central London, as part of an integrated team. The 26 miles of tunnels (42 kilometers) have been completed in just three years.
“Nearly 40% of our engineers working on Crossrail are female and bring different skill sets and dynamics to the team,” said Ailie MacAdam, managing director for infrastructure, Europe and Africa, Bechtel, one of the most senior engineers in the UK and formerly Bechtel’s project director on Crossrail. “They have masterminded some of the most complicated engineering work on Crossrail and without diverse teams we would not be where we are today.”
This morning, the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, visited Farringdon station, the site of one of the new Crossrail stations, as part of an event to mark the completion of tunnelling and met Linda Miller, a senior engineer with Bechtel, and the project manager at Farringdon Station, and who appeared on the recent BBC documentary, The £15 billion railway, shown managing complicated engineering work on the Connaught Tunnel. “Working on engineering projects like Crossrail offers amazing opportunities for women – we have women in roles project managing work on stations, and planning and scheduling complex engineering programmes,” said Miller. “The nature and variety of work on projects like this makes engineering an immensely rewarding career.”
Only about 6% of the UK’s supply of engineers is female but Bechtel is bucking this trend on Crossrail and on another of its UK projects, Vauxhall underground station upgrade, where 35% of the engineers (Bechtel and Transport for London combined) are female. The company is committed to increasing the number of women engineers across its business, which it is achieving through the use of unconscious-bias awareness training, senior female role models, mentoring and a global collaborative forum: Women@Bechtel. Bechtel is also part of a number of industry and government initiatives to encourage STEM in schools and promote career opportunities in engineering to women, such as the ‘Your Life’ and WISE campaigns and National Women in Engineering Day, which takes place on 23rd June.
With Crossrail 65% complete, Bechtel’s 200-strong team of project managers, engineers and world-class specialists in sustainability and rail systems will now focus on the integration and completion of rail and station systems in advance of testing which will begin in 2017. Under a separate contract, Bechtel is also working as delivery partner for Network Rail to upgrade the existing rail network outside London to integrate with Crossrail.
The first Crossrail services through central London will start in late 2018. An estimated 200 million annual passengers will use Crossrail. The line will increase capacity of London’s passenger rail network by 10% and dramatically reduce journey times across the city.
A global leader in the rail industry, Bechtel has successfully delivered some of the largest and most complex rail projects in the world, including the Channel Tunnel, High Speed 1, San Francisco BART system and the Athens Metro. The company is also currently working on the Riyadh Metro, Rio de Janeiro Metro and the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension.