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Crossrail’s first tunnel boring machine reaches Paddington

By Peter MacLennan

Crossrail’s first tunnel boring machine reaches Paddington

Crossrail’s first tunnel boring machine (TBM), Phyllis, has successfully reached Paddington, having travelled 750 metres from Royal Oak. A second, TBM, Ada, has today (21 August) broken ground at Royal Oak Portal and commenced tunnelling towards Paddington.

Keith Sibley, Crossrail Area Director West said: “Our first TBM, Phyllis, has now successfully reached Paddington having carefully navigated under London Underground’s Hammersmith & City line and the Great Western Main Line. A second TBM, Ada, has now commenced tunnelling. Once Ada has made sufficient progress, Phyllis will move forward through the Paddington station box onwards to Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and then Farringdon. The tunnels between Royal Oak and Farringdon will be completed in late 2013.”

Over 12,000 segments have now been produced at the Old Oak Common concrete segment plant for the western tunnels. A total of 3,680 segments have been used to construct the western tunnels to-date.

Work to install the major conveyor system behind the TBMs will complete once Ada is fully below ground. A total of 24 kilometres of conveyer belt will be used to remove excavated material from the western tunnels.

Rail sidings have been constructed to allow freight trains operated by GB Railfreight to access Westbourne Park to transport the excavated material to Northfleet, Kent from where it will be shipped to Wallasea Island in Essex to create a RSPB nature reserve. A total of 66,000 tonnes of excavated material has been transported to Northfleet so far.

Two kilometres of 900mm narrow gauge tunnel railway has been also laid from Westbourne Park to enable tunnel locomotives to transport materials and supplies into and out of the tunnel.

Eight tunnel boring machine will be used to construct 21 kilometres (13 miles) of Crossrail’s twin bore tunnels running between Royal Oak in west London and Pudding Mill Lane and Plumstead in east London.

A further two tunnel boring machines, Elizabeth and Victoria, are currently being assembled at Limmo Peninsula beside Canning Town station for the eastern tunnels between Docklands and Farringdon. Tunnelling is due to commence at Limmo Peninsula this winter.

A fifth TBM, Sophia has recently completed factory testing. Early next year Sophia will begin constructing the 2.6km Thames Tunnel between Plumstead and North Woolwich.

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

About Crossrail:

Crossrail tunneling commenced on 3 May 2012. Phyllis reached Paddington on 8 August 2012, while Ada broke ground at Royal Oak on 21 August 2012.

3,680 concrete segments have been used to construct 460 tunnel rings to-date.

5 x 32 tonne Schoma tunnel locomotives will be used to construct the western tunnels. Two tunnel locomotives are currently on site.

The total funding envelope available to deliver Crossrail is £14.8bn.  

The Crossrail route will pass through 37 stations and run 118 km (73 miles) from Maidenhead 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 across the capital, helping to secure London's position as a world leading financial centre, 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.