100-day countdown to start Crossrail tunnel drives

Aaron Morby 12 years ago

The first Crossrail tunnel boring machine has comes off the production line in Germany with 100 days to go before tunnelling starts.

It is one of eight TBMs that will shortly be transported to Tilbury, each weighing in at around 1,000 tonnes and around 140m long.

The machine will take two months to re-assemble at Westbourne Park, ahead of tunnelling commencing from Royal Oak in March.

To construct the 21km of twin-bore tunnel for Crossrail, the eight TBMs will carry out 10 individual tunnel drives.

Construction of the concrete segment factory for the western running tunnels between Royal Oak and Farringdon is now complete at Old Oak Common.

The plant will begin manufacturing over 70,000 segments for the western tunnels from January.

The five 6.2m diameter tunnels to be constructed are:

  • Royal Oak to Farringdon west (Drive X) – length of drive approximately 6.2 km
  • Limmo 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 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

Chris Dulake, Crossrail’s chief engineer said: “The new Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy has welcomed its first students and will train at least 3,500 people with the skills required to work below ground while the first of the tunnel segment manufacturing plants will shortly commence full operations.”

Following the launch of the first TBM a second tunnelling machine will be launched from Royal Oak a few weeks later.

The remaining TBMs will be then launched from Limmo Peninsula in the Royal Docks heading towards Farringdon in late 2012, from Pudding Mill Lane and Plumstead in 2013, and from Limmo Peninsula to Victoria Dock in 2014.

    Six Crossrail tunnelling contracts

  • Western Running Tunnels (Royal Oak to Farringdon): Joint venture comprising: BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK), Kier Construction.
  • Eastern Running Tunnels (Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon; Limmo Peninsula to Victoria Dock; Stepney Green to Pudding Mill Lane): Joint venture comprising: Dragados, John Sisk & Son.
  • Early Access Shafts and linings for Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations tunnels: Joint venture comprising: BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Ltd, Kier Construction.
  • Early Access Shafts and linings  for Whitechapel and Liverpool Street stations tunnels: Joint venture comprising: Alpine BeMo Tunnelling, Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering, Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure), VINCI Construction Grands Projects.
  • Thames Tunnel construction (Plumstead to North Woolwich): Joint Venture comprising: Hochtief Construction, J Murphy & Sons.
  • Connaught Tunnel refurbishment: Vinci Construction UK

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