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 tunnelling machine Ellie completes journey at Stepney Green

By Hamish McDougall

  • Tunnel Boring Machine ‘Ellie’ breaks into Stepney Green cavern
  • Tunnels for Crossrail’s north east spur are now complete

Tunnel Boring Machine Ellie has broken through into a cavern 40m beneath Stepney Green, in the East End of London.

The breakthrough marks the structural completion of tunnels for Crossrail’s north east spur, between Whitechapel and Pudding Mill Lane. It has taken Ellie just over three months to complete the 2.7km journey, travelling as much as 72m in a 24 hour period.

In the coming weeks 1,000 tonne Ellie, named after Paralympic Champion Ellie Simmonds OBE, will be lifted out of the cavern and taken by road to Limmo Peninsula at Canning Town. From there she will be re-assembled ahead of recommencing tunnelling towards Victoria Dock Portal.

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail Chief Executive said: “Ellie has made a safe journey from the shadow of the Olympic stadium to our site at Stepney Green. Our tunnel teams deserve congratulations for an impressive feat of engineering. Construction of the new rail tunnels for Europe’s largest infrastructure project is now over 80 per cent complete. Crossrail continues to be delivered on time and on budget.”

It is estimated that Crossrail will generate at least 75,000 business opportunities and support the equivalent of 55,000 full time jobs around the UK. In addition to Crossrail, 61,000 jobs are created around the country annually through TfL's investment programme.

When Crossrail opens in 2018, it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent and cut journey times across the city, bringing an extra 1.5m people to within 45 minutes of central London.

Joint Venture Dragados Sisk is constructing the eastern tunnels between Pudding Mill Lane and Stepney Green, Limmo Peninsula and Farringdon, and Victoria Dock Portal and Limmo.

NOTE: Many features on the website require Javascript. You can enable it via your browser's preference settings.


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

About Crossrail:

The total funding envelope available to deliver Crossrail is £14.8bn. The Crossrail route will pass through 40 stations and run from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km (13 miles) tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

When Crossrail opens it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the city. Crossrail services are due to commence through central London in 2018.

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.