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Crossrail awards remaining tunnelling contracts as Crossrail's momentum becomes unstoppable

By Peter MacLennan

Crossrail awards remaining tunnelling contracts as Crossrail's momentum becomes unstoppable
  • Thames Tunnel construction and Connaught Tunnel refurbishment contracts awarded

  • All 21km of twin-bore tunnelling works for Crossrail now let

  • £50m Pudding Mill Lane Tunnel Portal contract also awarded

  • Tunnel boring machine manufacturers to be confirmed later this month

  • Crossrail implements new integrated organisational structure with delivery partners to ensure Crossrail delivered as efficiently and cost effectively as possible

Crossrail today announced its intention to award the remaining tunnel contracts for Europe’s largest construction project. The two contracts for Thames Tunnel construction and Connaught Tunnel refurbishment are worth in the region of £225m and will deliver the construction of around 3km of twin-bored tunnel.

The new railway will boost London’s rail-based capacity by 10 per cent, delivering new journey opportunities, faster journey times and up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during the peak.

Around 21km of twin-bore tunnel will be constructed for Crossrail in total. Tunnelling activity will commence in late 2011 with the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) starting out on its journey in spring 2012. The combined Crossrail tunnelling contracts are worth in the region of £1.5bn.

Over £2bn has been invested in Crossrail to-date with further contractual commitments being taken on every day. With all the tunnelling contracts now let and work underway at all central London station sites, Crossrail has now passed the point of no return and would be extremely difficult and expensive to stop. Further delivery contracts worth in the region of £1.5bn will be awarded during 2011 including main construction contracts for new Crossrail stations in central London.

To ensure that Crossrail is delivered as cost effectively and efficiently as possible, Crossrail has now implemented a new integrated delivery structure. This sees Crossrail Limited, Project Delivery Partner Bechtel and Programme Partner Transcend working together as one organisation to ensure there are no gaps, overlaps and that each job is only done once.

Both Bechtel and Transcend will continue to play leading roles in the delivery of Crossrail.

The new integrated structure also firmly places responsibility for construction progress along with the management of project risks that could affect delivery on our private sector contractors who are best able to deal with it. This increases the incentive for the private sector to deliver Crossrail on time and within budget.

Rob Holden, Crossrail Chief Executive said: “Crossrail and our delivery partners Bechtel and Transcend have achieved significant progress to-date and together we are now gearing up for the intensive phase of construction that will commence with the start of main tunnelling next year. The award of the remaining tunnelling contracts is further evidence of the significant progress that Crossrail has made over the last year and shortly our tunnelling contractors will confirm the manufacturers for the tunnel boring machines needed to deliver Crossrail.”

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “Letting the final tunnelling contracts is a massive milestone. Crossrail will transform journeys for thousands of passengers in London, support the UK economy and generate up to 14,000 jobs at the peak of construction.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Work on the juggernaut that is Crossrail is proceeding at pace. This crucial project that I fought for will be of huge importance to the future of our city and these contracts will provide an immediate boost to employment in the UK."

The two remaining tunnelling contract awards are as follows:

C310 – Thames Tunnel construction (Plumstead to North Woolwich)

  • Joint Venture comprising: Hochtief Construction AG, J Murphy & Sons Ltd.

C315 – Connaught Tunnel refurbishment

  • Vinci Construction UK Ltd;

As announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, a more efficient construction timetable means that Crossrail’s central section will now be delivered in 2018 rather than 2017. It is expected that Crossrail services will commence on the central section by late 2018 followed by a phased introduction of services along the rest of the Crossrail route. 

In spring 2012, the first two tunnel boring machines will start out on their journey from Royal Oak towards Farringdon. This will be followed by the launch of two further tunnel boring machines in Docklands that will head towards Farringdon under central London. Further shorter tunnel drives will take place in the Royal Docks and east London.

To construct the 21km of twin-bore tunnel required for Crossrail, at least seven tunnel boring machines will be used and will undertake ten individual tunnel drives to construct the 6m diameter tunnels. Each TBM will be up to 120m in length.

The TBMs will be purchased by the main tunnelling contractors from global manufacturers. There are no UK-based companies that manufacture TBMs. Crossrail will confirm the manufacturers who will build the Crossrail TBMs later this month.

Crossrail Tunnel Portals

Crossrail today also announced its intention to award the main construction contract for Pudding Mill Lane Portal. Construction of the portal will get underway in mid-2011. The portal contract award is as follows:

C350 – Pudding Mill Lane Portal construction

  • Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure) Limited.

Five new tunnel portals will be constructed as part of Crossrail at Royal Oak, Pudding Mill Lane, North Woolwich, Victoria Dock and Plumstead.

The Western and Eastern running tunnels will have tunnel portals at Royal Oak, Pudding Mill Lane and Victoria Dock. The Thames Tunnel between North Woolwich and Plumstead will have tunnel portals constructed at either end in advance of the main tunnelling works. Construction of the first tunnel portal at Royal Oak got underway in January 2010.

The North Woolwich Portal and Plumstead Portal is included as part of main works for the C310 Thames Tunnel contract. The Victoria Dock Tunnel Portal construction contract will be awarded later this year.

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For further information contact the Crossrail Press Office on 020 3229 9552 or email: [email protected]

Notes to Editors

Download Crossrail media briefing note - Tunnelling Contract awards 7-4-2011

The value of the C310 – Thames Tunnel construction contract is in the region of £190m. The value of the C315 Connaught Tunnel refurbishment contract is in the region of £35m. The value of C350 – Pudding Mill Lane Portal is in the region of £50m.

The shortlisted bidders for C310 -Thames Tunnel (Plumstead to North Woolwich) were:

  • Joint Venture comprising: BAM Nuttall Ltd, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Ltd, Kier Construction Ltd;
  • Joint Venture comprising: Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Ltd, Alpine BeMo Tunnelling GmbH, Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure) plc, Vinci Construction Grand Projects;
  • Joint Venture comprising: Costain Ltd, Skanska Construction UK Ltd, Bilfinger Berger Ingenieurbau GmbH Niederlassung Tunnelbau;
  • Joint Venture comprising: Laing O'Rourke Construction Ltd, Strabag AG, Bouygues Travaux Publics; and
  • Joint Venture comprising: Hochtief Construction AG, J Murphy & Sons Ltd.

The shortlisted bidders for C315 - Connaught Tunnel refurbishment were:

  • Vinci Construction UK Ltd;
  • Joint Venture comprising: Hochtief Construction AG, J Murphy & Sons Ltd;
  • BAM Nuttall Ltd; and
  • Joint Venture comprising: VolkerFitzpatrick Limited, Barhale Construction plc.

The shortlisted bidders for C350 - Pudding Mill Lane Portal were:

  • Vinci Construction UK Ltd;
  • Carillion Construction Ltd;
  • Dragados-Sisk Joint Venture; and
  • Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure) Limited.

Crossrail has received confirmation (6 April) that it has passed the last of the formal project reviews set by Crossrail’s Sponsors, the Department for Transport and Transport for London. Review Point 4 is the last contractual review point and allowed Sponsors (DfT and TfL) to review Crossrail progress and forecast costs prior to confirming funding commitments and delegating authority to Crossrail to award contracts.

Crossrail tunnels:

The five tunnels to be constructed are:

  • Royal Oak to Farringdon west (Drive X) - length of drive approximately 6.1 km
  • Limmo Peninsula in the Royal Docks to Farringdon east (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 Peninsula in the Royal Docks 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

All of this adds up to 42km of bored tunnels located below the busy streets of London.

Location of Tunnel Drive

TBM Launch

Tunnel Drive Complete

Royal Oak to Farringdon (Drive X)

Second Quarter 2012

Third Quarter 2013

Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon (Drive Y)

Third Quarter 2012

Third Quarter 2014

Stepney Green to Pudding Mill Lane (Drive Z)

Fourth Quarter 2013

Third Quarter 2014

Limmo Peninsula to Victoria Dock Portal (Drive G)

Second Quarter 2014

Third Quarter 2014

Plumstead to North Woolwich (Drive H)

Fourth Quarter 2012

Second Quarter 2014


Integrated organisation:

The Crossrail leadership team under the new integrated structure will be as follows:

  • Rob Holden, Chief Executive
    • Valerie Todd, Talent and Resources Director
  • Andy Mitchell, Programme Director
    • Ailie MacAdam, Central Section Delivery Director
      • Keith Sibley, Area Director West
      • Bill Tucker, Area Director Central
      • Jeff Clegg, Area Director East
      • Alan Walker, Area Director Central Projectwide Construction
    • Lesley Calladine, Health and Safety Director
    • Chris Sexton, Technical Director
    • Steve Elliott, Programme Controls Director (joins 11 April)
    • Matt White, Crossrail Surface Director
    • David Livesley, Business Transformation Director
    • Mike Stubbs, Crossrail Operations Director
  • David Allen, Finance Director
    • Neil Farmer, IT Director
    • Land and Property Director – to be announced
    • Finance Operations Director – to be announced
  • Martin Buck, Commercial Director
    • Mark Fell, Legal Services Director

Cliff Mumm, formerly Project Director of Crossrail Central, has left the Crossrail project to take up a major new role with Bechtel in North America;

Keith Berryman, Land and Property Director, retired from Crossrail on 31 March 2011. A successor is currently being recruited;

Clinton Leeks, Corporate Affairs Director, left Crossrail on 6 April 2011 but will continue to act as a part-time adviser to the Chairman for an interim period;

Stuart Westgate, formerly Crossrail Surface Director, has left Crossrail to take up a new role; and

The post of Finance Operations Director is currently being recruited.

The new Crossrail integrated organisational arrangements have been agreed under the existing appointments of Bechtel and Transcend. Both of those appointments will remain in place going forward. Crossrail Limited, Bechtel and Transcend will adjust their staffing deployments on the Crossrail project to reflect the requirements of the new integrated structure. A total of 3,000 people are currently working on Crossrail - around 275 people are currently employed by Crossrail Limited with the remainder employed by the delivery partners and other private contractors.

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 opens it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10%, 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. Latest economic forecasts suggest that Crossrail will add £42bn to the economy. Previous estimates were that Crossrail would deliver up to a £36bn boost to the UK economy.

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.