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.

Eastern tunnels – Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green

In order to to connect the Great Eastern Main Line services from Shenfield with Crossrail, two new tunnels - stretching 2.7 kilometers from Pudding Mill Lane, near the Olympic Park, to Stepney Green - were constructed, using two giant tunnelling machines Jessica and Ellie.

Site Manager Bob Brown inspects Jessica ahead of launch

Students from Marion Richardson Primary School in Stepney suggested the names ‘Jessica’ and ‘Ellie’ for the final two of eight Crossrail tunnelling machines.

Named after Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE, Jessica, the 1,000 tonne tunnel boring machine, was the first to begin her journey launching from the pre-constructed Pudding Mill Lane portal towards Stepney in August 2013.

TBM Ellie launches February 2014_127331

She was closely followed by sister machine Ellie, named after Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds OBE, who launched in February 2014.

Tunnel boring machines Jessica and Ellie completed their 2.7km tunnel drives from Pudding Mill Lane portal near Stratford to Stepney Green in February 2014 and June 2014 respectively.

Living up to their namesake's reputations, Jessica and Ellie both recorded Crossrail's highest rates of tunnel production.  On 16 April 2014, Ellie tunnelled an incredible 72 metres in just one day on her drive between Pudding Mill Lane and Stepney Green. That is almost double the collective average speed for our tunnelling machines of 38 metres per day.

TBM Ellie breaks through into Stepney Green cavern_145020

Once the machines arrived safely into the cavern at Stepney they were dismantled, lifted out of the shaft in pieces and then transported by road to Crossrail's Limmo Peninsula worksite.  The machines were then lowered below ground in pieces, re-assembled and used to construct the tunnels between Limmo and Victoria Dock Portal.



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

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

Thames Tunnel – Plumstead to North Woolwich

Thames Tunnel – Plumstead to North Woolwich

To deliver Crossrail services to Abbey Wood, a new tunnel was built underneath the River Thames between Plumstead and... Read more