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Prime Minister and Mayor of London celebrate completion of Crossrail’s tunnelling marathon

By Peter MacLennan

The Prime Minister and Mayor of London Boris Johnson celebrated the completion of Crossrail’s tunnels by going 40 metres below the capital to thank the men and women who are constructing the new £14.8 billion east-west railway.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Crossrail is an incredible feat of engineering that will help to improve the lives of working people in London and beyond. The project is a vital part of our long term plan to build a more resilient economy by helping businesses to grow, compete and create jobs right along the supply chain.”

Crossrail tunnelling began in the summer of 2012 and ended at Farringdon with the break through of tunnelling machine Victoria. Eight 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines have bored 26 miles or 42 km of new 6.2m diameter rail tunnels under London.

Construction is also advancing on the ten new Crossrail stations and on works above ground west of Paddington and east of Stratford. Over 10,000 people are currently working on Crossrail, including over 450 apprentices.

With the arrival of Crossrail in 2018, Farringdon will become one of the UK’s busiest rail hubs with direct connections to London Underground and upgraded and expanded Thameslink services. This brand new interchange will transform the way passengers travel through London and the South East, providing more capacity and direct connections to three of London’s five airports and international rail services at St Pancras. Passengers will also benefit from quicker connections and will be able to travel to Tottenham Court Road in three minutes, Heathrow in just over 30 minutes and Canary Wharf in nine minutes.

Crossrail will add 10% capacity to London’s rail network. It will serve 40 stations, connecting Reading and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. TfL-run Crossrail services through central London will commence in December 2018. An estimated 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year.

On 31 May this year the rail services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield joined the TfL transport network. This is the first phase of the introduction of Crossrail, which will be fully integrated with TfL services. Customers will benefit from stations staffed at all times trains are operating as well as better accessibility provision with turn up and go services being offered for those who need ramps to board trains. 

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “This is a landmark moment for London that puts us a gigantic step closer to the launch of an absolutely vital new railway, which will hugely improve our ability to speedily move people across our city. Crossrail has already created tens of thousands of jobs and helped boost the skills of many thousands of people not just in the capital, but all around our great nation. It is a wonderful example of our nation’s talent for engineering, a talent that must not be allowed to founder and that I hope will eventually be put to use on the construction of Crossrail 2.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, said: “This is a major milestone in the most ambitious rail project this country has seen for decades. The Crossrail project showcases British engineering at its best, and I congratulate everyone involved in this impressive achievement.

“When the first trains start running through these tunnels from 2018, Crossrail, together with the billions of pounds we are investing in the Thameslink Programme, will transform travel across London and the South East. It will also play a vital role in driving forward our long-term economic plan by boosting business and creating thousands of new jobs.”

Terry Morgan CBE, Crossrail Chairman, said: “Crossrail is the most significant addition to London’s transport network in a generation and one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK. The completion of Crossrail tunnelling is a truly significant milestone and would not have been possible without the support and commitment of London, our contractors and everyone who works on Crossrail.”

Andrew Wolstenholme OBE, Crossrail Chief Executive, said: “Crossrail is being delivered on time and within budget and will transform how people travel across the capital. Over the last three years, our highly skilled team have worked tirelessly to build these major new tunnels under one of the world’s busiest cities. The challenge now shifts to the complicated and substantial task of fitting out the tunnels and stations to enable Crossrail services to operate.”

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “The end of tunnelling marks an impressive milestone in construction. When Crossrail fully opens it will provide much needed new transport links and capacity, helping to support London’s continued economic growth and meet the demands of our rapidly growing population. It is vital that we maintain such investment to meet the challenges of the future.”

London’s population is set to grow from 8.4 million today to around 10 million by 2030. The Government, the Mayor of London and TfL are investing in Crossrail and other transport infrastructure to support access to jobs, education, housing and to boost economic growth. Crossrail is part of TfL’s investment programme.

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Crossrail is a vital part of the Government’s commitment to invest record amounts in the rail network as part of its long-term economic plan. Between 2014 and 2019, more than £38bn will be spent on improving and maintaining the UK’s railways, helping to generate growth, create jobs and boost business, as well as providing better journeys for passengers.

Over the course of the project, it is estimated that Crossrail and its supply chain will support the equivalent of 55,000 full time jobs across the country. More than 8,000 people have completed training at Crossrail’s Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford, which opened in 2011.

A total of 84,300 jobs were supported last year across the UK, through TfL's investment programme and Crossrail. TfL and its suppliers have also created over 5,000 apprenticeship roles since April 2009. 

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Download Crossrail Media Briefing Note - End of Crossrail Tunnelling June 4 2015

Ends

For further information contact the Crossrail Press Office on 020 3229 9552 or email pressoffice@crossrail.co.uk

Key Crossrail milestones to date include:

  • Start of Crossrail construction began at Canary Wharf on 15 May 2009.
  • The first giant tunnel boring machine broke ground in May 2012. 42 kilometres of new train tunnels have been created under London. All eight Crossrail tunnelling machines have now completed their drives.
  • Another 13.5 kilometres of new passenger, platform and service tunnels have been constructed within the new Crossrail stations using a technique called sprayed concrete lining.
  • Crossrail rolling stock and depot contract awarded by Transport for London to Bombardier Transportation and Crossrail train operating concession awarded to MTR Corporation.
  • The surface works, delivered by Network Rail, are now over one-third complete.
  • All 40 Crossrail stations will have step free access from street to platform.
  • Over 450 apprentices have gained work on Crossrail. More than 8,000 people have undertaken training at Crossrail’s Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford, which opened in 2011.
  • Crossrail has plans in place to develop over three million square feet (gross) of commercial, residential and retail space above its stations and construction sites. Over 1 million square feet of this now has planning permission including Bond Street West (Davies Street), 101 Moorgate, Fisher Street and a number of developments above Crossrail Tottenham Court Road station
  • The Culture Line, a programme to deliver a permanent exhibition of large-scale world-class artworks in Crossrail’s central London stations is being delivered in collaboration with leading art galleries. The City of London Corporation is 50 per cent match funding the art works.

About Crossrail

Crossrail is being 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.

About Farringdon station

When Farringdon station is complete, it will become one of Britain’s busiest train stations bringing passengers from outer London to the business hubs in the City and Canary Wharf. More than 140 trains an hour will flow through Farrington interchange, providing a link between Thameslink, Crossrail and London Underground services.

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