» Articles » Completion of London Crossrail’s gargantuan tunnels hailed an ‘incredible feat of engineering’

Completion of London Crossrail’s gargantuan tunnels hailed an ‘incredible feat of engineering’

The completion of Crossrail’s vast subterranean tunnels, which quite literally signify a huge breakthrough for the £14.8 billion east-west railway project, has been hailed “an incredible feat of engineering” by Prime Minister David Cameron.

At the core of the operation were eight giant tunnel-boring machines that burrowed beneath the capital's bust streets, forming 100-metre long and 20-ft wide sections of tunnel every week since the summer of 2012. These 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines shifted huge amounts of earth while simultaneously laying down tracks and adding the tunnel's concrete lining.

Completion of London Crossrail's gargantuan tunnels
Boring machine, Victoria, completed the final leg of the marathon 26 miles (42km) worth of brand new 6.2m diameter rail tunnels that connect Reading and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

“Crossrail is an incredible feat of engineering that will help to improve the lives of working people in London and beyond,” said Prime Minister David Cameron at the project's final stop in Farringdon. “The project is a vital part of our long term plan to build a more resilient economy by helping businesses to grow, compete and create jobs right along the supply chain,” he added.

More than 10,000 people are currently working on Crossrail, including over 450 apprentices. The new line is due to begin operations in 2018 and add an estimated 10 per cent more capacity to London's crowded network. Around 200 million passengers are expected to use the 40-station line every year.

This is a major milestone in the most ambitious rail project this country has seen for decades, commented Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin. “The Crossrail project showcases British engineering at its best, and I congratulate everyone involved in this impressive achievement

Key facts and figures

  • Crossrail construction began at Canary Wharf on 15 May 2009.
  • The first giant tunnel boring machine broke ground in May 2012.
  • 42 kilometres of new train tunnels have been created under London.
  • All eight Crossrail tunnelling machines have now completed their drives.
  • Another 13.5 kilometres of new passenger, platform and service tunnels have been constructed within the new Crossrail stations using a technique called sprayed concrete lining.
  • Over 450 apprentices have gained work on Crossrail.
  • More than 8,000 people have undertaken training at Crossrail’s Tunnelling and Underground
  • Construction Academy in Ilford, which opened in 2011.

For more information visit www.crossrail.co.uk.

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