In pictures: End of the tunnel in sight for Crossrail

Aaron Morby 3 years ago

The end is in sight for Crossrail’s 42km tunnelling marathon as key milestones hit in the last week mean 70% of the drive has been completed.

The project team has achieved an unprecedented fortnight of construction progress ranging from completion of new train tunnels to three spectacular tunnel boring machine breakthroughs.

tbm victoria breaks through into stepney green cavern 30 january 2014_121677-1

crossrail tunnel progress

Crossrail’s western tunnels drive is now completed as TBM Ada reached her final destination at Farringdon.

While over in south east London, TBM Sophia has completed Crossrail’s first tunnel beneath the Thames, arriving at the North Woolwich Portal on 29 January, having started south of the river in Plumstead last August.

On 30 January, Victoria broke through into the Stepney Green Cavern and will be joined today by Jessica, completing a drive from Pudding Mill Lane.

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail chief executive said: “The tunnelling teams deserve tremendous credit for their safe and efficient progress in constructing this major new railway under London.

“The end is now in sight for Crossrail tunnelling with over 70% of the new rail tunnels now constructed. The next major element of the Crossrail programme will now begin with the fit-out of our tunnels and stations.”

tbm victoria breaks through into stepney green cavern 30 january 2014_121656
TBM Victoria breaks through into Stepney Green Cavern (30 Jan) – next three pictures

tbm victoria breaks through into stepney green cavern 30 january 2014_121631

tbm victoria breaks through into stepney green cavern 30 january 2014_121677

tbm victoria breaks through into stepney green cavern 30 january 2014_121809

eastbound cavern at stepney green awaits arrival of tbm jessica 3 february 2014_121861
Eastbound cavern at Stepney Green awaits arrival of Jessica from Puddling Mill Lane(3 Feb)

image of tunnel beneath the thames constructed by tbm sophia_95586
Tunnel beneath the Thames constructed by Sophia

tbm elizabeth breaks through into whitechapel station box jan 20_ 2014_120760
Elizabeth breaks through into Whitechapel station box (Jan 20) – next three pictures

tbm elizabeth breaks through into whitechapel station box jan 20_ 2014_120747

tbm elizabeth breaks through into whitechapel station box jan 20_ 2014_120597

tbm elizabeth breaks through into whitechapel station box jan 20_ 2014_120673

tbm ada completes 6_116992
Fitting out work in completed Western tunnel drive

western tunnels team celebrate end of tunnelling jan 2014_121552
Western tunnels team celebrate end of tunnelling as Ada completes drive (24 Jan)

Ada’s 6.9 kilometre journey has been particularly challenging for engineers, successfully navigating a complex web of Tube lines, building foundation piles and infrastructure up to 30m beneath central London.

This included passing less than a metre above the operational Northern line at Tottenham Court Road.

More than 72,000 pre-cast concrete segments have been used to line the western tunnels and about two million tonnes of earth has been excavated, destined for a new RSPB nature reserve at Wallasea Island, Essex.

Now that Sophia’s journey has finished, her sister Mary will shortly be launched from the Woolwich box to complete the final section of tunnelling on Crossrail’s southeast section.

With the arrival of TBM Jessica at Stepney, an eighth tunnelling machine, Ellie, will commence her journey from Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney later this month.

TBM Jessica will be taken to Limmo Peninsula for reassembly where she will construct the new Crossrail tunnels between Limmo and Victoria Dock Portal.

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