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Contractors World International - 2015 Vol 6 No 3

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Milestone - Tunnelling Complete on Europe’s Largest Infrastructure Project - page 2 of 6

Milestone - Tunnelling Complete on Europe’s Largest Infrastructure Project

Crossrail’s tunnelling marathon under London is now complete. Crossrail tunnelling began in May 2012 and ended in May 2015 at Farringdon with the arrival of tunnelling machine Victoria.  Over the last three years, eight 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines have bored 42 km (26 miles) of new 6.2 diameter rail tunnels under London.

Teams of dedicated workers have been working 24 hours a day to complete the tunnels for Europe’s largest civil engineering project. Thousands of others are employed to upgrade the existing rail network and build major new stations in central London and Docklands.

The tunnels weave their way between existing underground lines, sewers, utility tunnels and building foundations from station to station at depths of up to 42 m.

Such is the number of subterranean structures beneath London, that, at times, the TBMs had to pass within centimetres of existing tunnels and structural piles. As a television film detailed - it was like passing through the eye of a needle with no room for miscalculation.

All this had to be achieved without closure of existing London’s vital underground tube network.
Tunnelling machine Victoria, named after Queen Victoria who oversaw the birth of modern railways, successfully broke into Farringdon Crossrail station on 23 May at 5.30 am. Victoria then constructed the remaining section of Crossrail tunnel as she progressed into Farringdon station, completing the job and linking all Crossrail tunnels.

Crossrail tunnelling ended on 26 May 2015 when TBM Victoria completed her journey.

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