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Crossrail announces latest tunnel contract shortlist

Shortlist confirmed for C315 Connaught Tunnel and C350 Pudding Mill Lane Tunnel Portal

Crossrail today announced the shortlist for the refurbishment of the Connaught Tunnel, a major part of the Abbey Wood branch, and the Pudding Mill Lane Tunnel Portal.

Contract 315 - Connaught Tunnel • Vinci Construction UK Ltd;
• Hochtief Murphy Joint Venture;
• BAM Nuttall Ltd; and
• VolkerFitzpatrick Barhale Joint Venture.

Contract 350 Pudding Mill Lane Tunnel Portal • Vinci Construction UK Ltd;
• Carillion Construction Ltd;
• Dragados-Sisk Joint Venture; and
• Morgan Sindall plc.

The Invitation to Tender for both contracts will be issued next month. Crossrail intends to award contracts in 2011.

To deliver the Crossrail branch to Abbey Wood, a major proportion of the construction work involves reusing disused rail infrastructure including the Connaught Tunnel on the former North London Line branch to North Woolwich and disused National Rail tracks to Custom House - which both closed to passenger traffic in December 2006.

The Connaught Tunnel is around 550 metres long and runs between Royal Victoria Dock and Royal Albert Dock close to London City Airport. The tunnel dates back to 1850.

Crossrail will be enlarging the existing tunnel so that it can accommodate Crossrail trains and overhead line equipment. Sections of the existing tunnel are in a poor structural condition. Around 100 metres of tunnel wall will be removed and will be replaced with a new tunnel lining. The existing brick arches, part of the tunnel approaches, will be retained and repaired.

Over at Pudding Mill Lane, the second tunnel portal for the main running tunnels will be constructed. The other tunnel portal will be located at Royal Oak. Preparatory work at the Royal Oak tunnel portal site got underway in January 2010. Work on the Royal Oak tunnel portal involves construction of a 190 metre diaphragm walled box to form the foundation for a tunnel boring machine launch. Construction of the actual tunnel portal got underway last week with the first section of the diaphragm wall installed.

Crossrail tunnelling activity will get underway in 2011. Good progress continues to be made with the procurement of the three main running tunnel contracts. Tenders have been received for C300 (Royal Oak to Farringdon) and C305 (Limmo to Farringdon) and are currently being evaluated. Bids for C310 (Plumstead to North Woolwich) are due to be received this month. Tenders for the four station tunnel contracts at Bond Street, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road and Whitechapel will all have been submitted by the end of September.

Andy Mitchell, Programme Director, Crossrail said: "Construction work on the Abbey Wood branch is now underway with work advancing on the new Canary Wharf station and preparatory work underway at a number of sites. Key sections of the Abbey Wood branch already exist as they are either disused or existing rail infrastructure. We are now moving forward with the main element of the Abbey Wood branch, the refurbishment of the Connaught Tunnel and will be issuing the Invitation to Tender to shortlisted organisations in September.

"Good progress continues to be made with the procurement of the Crossrail tunnel contracts. Bids for the two main Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) contracts have been received and are being evaluated and contain some interesting ideas that could deliver increased value for money. These are high value and very complex contracts and it is only right that we take time to give them careful consideration.

"It is critical that every pound invested in this vital project achieves maximum value for money. Our message to the construction and design industry over recent months has been clear; sensible efficiency savings will be made at every opportunity and we are determined to deliver Crossrail well within the current funding budget of £15.9 billion. Value for money needs to be at the heart of every Crossrail bid submission."

In just over one year from now the first tunnel boring machines will start on their journey from Royal Oak towards Farringdon. This will be followed shortly by the launch of further tunnel boring machines in Docklands that will head towards Farringdon under central London. Teams of dedicated construction workers will be working 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 along the central section of the route.

Once completed, new trains carrying up to 1,500 passengers will travel through the 21km long tunnels significantly reducing journey times between Heathrow, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf and providing new journey opportunities and much needed additional transport capacity.


Media enquiries:

Jonathan Baggs,Crossrail Press Office, 020 3229 9552 

Notes to Editors


A total of 21 km of twin-bore tunnel is required to be constructed for Crossrail.

The five tunnel drives are:

• Royal Oak to Farringdon (Drive X) - length of drive approximately 6.2 km
• Limmo to Farringdon (Drive Y) - length of drive approximately 8.3 km
• Stepney Green to Pudding Mill Lane (Drive Z) - length of drive approximately 2.7 km
• Limmo to Victoria Dock Portal (Drive G) - length of drive approximately 0.9 km
• Plumstead to North Woolwich (Drive H) - length of drive approximately 2.6 km

In December 2009, Crossrail confirmed the shortlist of bidders for two principal tunnelling contracts - Package C300 for Western Running Tunnels and Package C305 for Eastern Running Tunnels.

The shortlist invited to submit bids were:

• Joint venture comprising Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Limited, Morgan Est plc, Vinci Construction Grand Projets and Beton-und Monierbau Gesellschaft;
• Joint venture comprising BAM Nuttall Limited, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited and Kier Construction Limited;
• Joint venture comprising Costain Limited, Skanska Construction UK Limited and Bilfinger Berger Civil (Ingeneirbau GmbH);
• Joint venture comprising Dragados, S.A. and John Sisk & Son (Holdings) Limited; and
• Joint venture comprising Laing O'Rourke Construction and Bouygues Travaux Publics SA.

Abbey Wood branch

The Abbey Wood branch will be delivered as part of the overall construction timetable. Work on the Abbey Wood branch is already underway with construction advancing on the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station and preparatory work underway at a number of branch sites.

A major proportion of the Abbey Wood branch involves the reuse of disused rail infrastructure (the Connaught Tunnel on the former North London Line branch to North Woolwich and disused National Rail tracks to Custom House - which both closed to passenger traffic in December 2006) as well as the operation of services on the existing rail network.

Works on the Abbey Wood branch is made up of a number of elements - construction of new stations at Canary Wharf, Custom House and Woolwich, refurbishment of the existing Connaught Tunnel, reuse of disused tracks on the former North London line branch to North Woolwich at Custom House, a short tunnelled section in the Woolwich area as well as modernisation of existing National Rail tracks at Abbey Wood.

About Crossrail

Crossrail will run 118 km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. It will bring an additional 1.5 million people within 45 minutes commuting distance of London's key business districts. When Crossrail begins operations it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent, supporting regeneration across the Capital, helping to secure London's position as a world leading financial centre, and cutting journey times across the city.

Crossrail will deliver substantial economic benefits for all of London and the South East. Crossrail is now more important to the UK economy than ever before. Latest figures suggest that Crossrail will add up to £42bn to the economy, resulting in a £17bn tax boost for the Treasury. Previous estimates were that Crossrail would deliver up to £36bn to the UK economy.

Up to 14,000 people will be employed at the peak of construction in 2013/2015. Crossrail is Europe's largest construction project.

Preparatory works took place throughout 2009. The main construction programming got underway in 2010 with tunnelling starting in 2011.

Crossrail is delivered by Crossrail Limited (CRL). CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London. Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

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