When Crossrail announced they were doing a 'behind the hoardings' event for Canary Wharf station I had to take a look. The event was free but required pre-booking and space was limited. I couldn't get my preferred timeslot as it ran out within minutes of going live but fortunately I did manage to get another time. The event was held on 28 February 2018 which had heavy snow throughout the UK but it wasn't severe enough in London to call off the event so an email was sent round confirming it was still happening. It did mean queuing for a few minutes outside in the cold though.

Here's a shaky video which gives you an impression of what to expect.

One thing the video doesn't really get across is the size of the station. The trains are 200 metres long with space for up to 1500 passengers, they'll be able to move a lot of people through central London. You can appreciate the size of the station by looking at it from the outside.

The purpose built station building built in West India dock contains a decent number of shops, bars and restaurants most of which have been open for a while now. There's also a roof garden that anyone can visit. A walk from end to end gives you an idea of the size of the station.

Some points to note. The station didn't yet have directional signage installed and no sign of any station roundels (but they may have been covered over), the help points and ticket barriers have been installed but no sign of any ticket machines yet. There's no sign of a traditional ticket office, I didn't expect there to be but as it's not part of the Underground (despite the Elizabeth line branding which will be used from December 2018) it was quite possible that they did have a ticket office. I wonder if the National Rail stations that are managed by Crossrail but are used by other operators will keep their ticket offices?

There were displays showing how Crossrail have benefitted other areas of the UK, for example the roundels are being made in the Isle of Wight and various other components coming from specialist companies around the UK.

As expected from a modern station it is accessible with a number of lifts. Surprisingly the escalators don't seem to go slow when not being used by passengers (to save power), I've noticed some escalators in the UK are now doing this but it has been common in some other countries for much longer. The platform edge doors will have displays above each door listing the destination and other information, these have yet to be installed.

Currently Crossrail is operating under the TfL Rail brand operating class 345 trains between Liverpool Street and Shenfield and it will be taking over the Heathrow Connect operation between Paddington and Heathrow T4 from late May 2018. The core stations (including Canary Wharf) will open in December 2018, this is when the brand will switch to Elizabeth line. Initially the service will still be in sections; trains will still depart the mainline Liverpool Street station towards Shenfield and trains will depart the mainline Paddington station towards Heathrow and Reading. The core section will start at Abbey Wood in the east and run towards Paddington Crossrail station in the west. Canary Wharf is included in these stations.

During 2019 the network will become more joined up and by December 2019 the trains will be able to run through the network going direct from Abbey Wood or Shenfield in the east all the way to Heathrow and Reading in the west.

If you'd like to know if there's any future Crossrail events the follow @Crossrail on Twitter.