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New Crossrail images show 'London tunnelling marathon' underway beneath the capital

By Stuart Buss

New Crossrail images show 'London tunnelling marathon' underway beneath the capital
  • 26 miles of tunnels being built as Crossrail moves into peak tunnelling period
  • Five tunnelling machines now operational and platform tunnelling works  underway at several London stations
  • Over 7,000 people now employed on Crossrail with work underway below the streets of London 24 hours a day

New images released by Crossrail today show the tunnelling marathon taking place beneath the capital, with round-the-clock work on-track to create 26 miles (42km) of tunnels beneath London.

The new Crossrail route from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east includes a marathon-equivalent 26 mile (42km) section of tunnels. Following the aerial images of Crossrail construction sites released last month, new tunnelling images released today show how Europe’s biggest construction project is also making its mark beneath the capital. The new images show tunnelling work underway at Crossrail sites including:

  • Five tunnelling machines now in operation – Phyllis and Ada in west London, Elizabeth and Victoria in east London, and Sophia in Plumstead, southeast London
  • Together the five machines have created more than 5km / 3 miles of tunnels so far with nearly 500 metres built in the single biggest week of tunnelling to-date
  • In the western tunnels alone tunnelling machine Phyllis has put over 1,500 tunnel rings in place between Royal Oak and Park Lane at the edge of Hyde Park
  • The  western tunnelling machines will pass through the new Crossrail station at Bond Street this spring followed by Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon later this year, while the eastern tunnelling machines will break through into Canary Wharf station box this spring
  • Tunnelling underway beneath four central London station sites using Sprayed Concrete Lining ‘mining’ techniques– Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel
  • Sprayed Concrete Lining will be used to build a total of 12km of platform tunnels and cross passages at stations along the Crossrail route
  • Sprayed Concrete Lining underway at the huge 34.5 metres deep Stepney Green shaft in east London - one of Europe’s largest underground caverns which is large enough to fit 100 double decker buses. The works are to allow the two eastern tunnelling machines to pass through the shaftlater this year on their way to Farringdon via Whitechapel and Liverpool Street
  • Crossrail’s sixth and seventh tunnel boring machines will begin further tunnelling work in Plumstead and Pudding Mill Lane later this year
  • Refurbishment works well underway at the 135 year old Connaught Tunnel in southeast London which will be brought back into use for Crossrail. A section of the Royal Docks will shortly be drained to allow major works later this year to open the tunnel from above for the first time since its construction in 1878

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail’s Chief Executive said: "With 26 miles of new tunnels to be built for Crossrail we are delivering our own London marathon beneath the streets of the capital. This is a huge and complex task with work underway 24 hours a day below London’s streets but our first few miles of tunnel are now completed. These new underground images show the scale of transformation taking place beneath London and the essential new transport links being created with every metre of new tunnel built.”

When Crossrail opens in 2018, it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent and dramatically cut journey times across the city.

Through the new transport links and significant over-station developments being delivered, Crossrail will support regeneration across the capital with economic forecasts suggesting the project will add up to £42 billion to the UK economy.

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

About Crossrail:

Crossrail’s construction commenced on 15 May 2009 at Canary Wharf.

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 below central London 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.