Close

Cookies on the Crossrail website

We use cookies to ensure we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Crossrail website.

Find out why we use cookies and how to manage your settings.

Crossrail’s 26 mile tunnelling marathon complete

Building a new railway, up to 40 metres deep through the heart of the capital, is an incredible engineering achievement.  The tunnels weave their way through the city’s underground landscape, within touching distance of existing railways as well as beneath some of the most historic buildings in London.

Building the new rail tunnels was a key part of Crossrail’s story. Crossrail tunnelling began in May 2012 and ended at Farringdon with the arrival of tunnelling machine Victoria.

For three years, eight 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines have bored 42km or 26 miles of new 6.2 metres diameter rail tunnels under London.

Crossrail tunnelling drives diagram

A dedicated team worked 24 hours a day to complete the tunnels for Europe's largest civil engineering project with thousands of others employed to upgrade the existing rail network and build major new stations in central London and Docklands. 

Crossrail’s deep, large-scale route under London comprised three distinct underground spaces:

Explore how some of the deepest, largest and longest tunnels were made in the most extensive underground building project in a generation.

From 2018 new Elizabeth line trains will transport up to 72,000 passengers per hour through these new tunnels, increasing rail capacity and reducing journey times for everyone who crosses the capital.

Meet our giant tunnelling machines

Meet our giant tunnelling machines

Digging the new tunnels was a 24-hour a day job, 7 days a week. Crossrail used eight tunnel boring machines (TBMs)... Read more

Building the rail tunnels

Building the rail tunnels

Three years of tunnelling beneath the capital to construct 26 miles of new rail tunnels

Building the station tunnels

Building the station tunnels

Fourteen kilometres of station and platform tunnels, passenger walkways and other spaces are being created through... Read more

Crossrail tunnelling - 360° image gallery

Crossrail tunnelling - 360° image gallery

Explore Crossrail’s construction in stunning 360 degree panoramic imagery.