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 tunnelling progress - before and after image gallery

Our tunnelling marathon under London is now complete. Check out our before and after images below to see the progress we have made constructing the new rail tunnels. Drag the divider in each image left or right to see the before and after view.

ENTRANCE TO ROYAL OAK PORTAL BEFORE AND AFTER TUNNEL CONSTRUCTION

Crossrail began tunneling in 2012 when the first pair of tunnelling machines, Phyllis and sister TBM Ada, started tunnelling at Royal Oak in west London.

Phyllis and Ada completed their tunnel drives in October 2013 and January 2014 resepctively, constructing 6.8km of tunnels each between Royal Oak and Farringdon.

This short video sees Crossrail's first tunnelling machine, Phyllis, complete her journey.

CROSSRAIL TUNNEL CONSTRUCTED BY TBM PHYLLIS

Eight tunnel boring machines have been working 24/7 over the past two and a half years below the streets of London to construct 42km of new rail tunnels. 

Find out how a tunnelling machine works in this short video.

BREATHING NEW LIFE INTO THE CONNAUGHT TUNNEL

Work to breathe new life into the Connaught Tunnel – a disused rail tunnel in Docklands – has been completed as part of the Crossrail project.  

The 550m long tunnel runs below the Royal Docks next to ExCeL London, close to London City Airport. The tunnel was built in 1878 and has not been in passenger use since December 2006.  Work was required to deepen, strengthen and widen the structure and to remove 135 years of coal and soot from the steam trains that originally used the tracks. 

Take a guided tour of the Connaught Tunnel following completion of the refurbishment works.

SPECTACULAR TUNNELLING BREAKTHROUGHS AT STEPNEY GREEN CAVERNS

Crossrail are also constructing over 14km of underground tunnels using a tunnelling technique called Sprayed Concrete Lining. 

The Stepney Green caverns are one of the largest mined caverns ever constructed in Europe. The cavern is 50m long, 13.4m wide and 16.6m high at its widest point. Two of Crossrail's tunnelling machines - Elizabeth and Jessica - broke through into the cavern in November 2013 and February 2014 respectively.

Watch as tunnelling machine Elizabeth spectacularly breaks through into Stepney Green cavern.

 

WESTERN TUNNELS - ROYAL OAK TO FARRINGDON

WESTERN TUNNELS - ROYAL OAK TO FARRINGDON

The western tunnel drive, between Royal Oak and Farringdon, was the first of 5 drives required to construct the Crossrail... Read more

Eastern tunnels - Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon

Eastern tunnels - Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon

At approximately 8.3 km in length, Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon was the longest of the five Crossrail tunnel drives.... Read more

Eastern tunnels – Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green

Eastern tunnels – Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green

Two tunnels stretching 2.7 kilometers from Pudding Mill Lane, near the Olympic Park, to Stepney Green were constructed... Read more

Breathing new life into the Connaught Tunnel

Breathing new life into the Connaught Tunnel

To deliver the Crossrail branch to Abbey Wood, a major proportion of the construction work involves reusing disused... Read more