Third TBM begins tunnelling on Crossrail

4 December 2012

The 1,000t TBM, Elizabeth, has begun the 8.3km tunnelling journey to create the eastern section of the new rail line between Docklands and central London, Crossrail announced late last week. Elizabeth has now placed the first of 110,000 concrete segments that will line the eastern tunnels.

Elizabeth and sister tunnelling machine Victoria were lowered 40m underground into a shaft at Limmo Peninsula, next to Canning Town station last month. Victoria is expected to begin work on the eastern tunnels later this year, Crossrail announced.

Elizabeth and Victoria will tunnel beneath the River Lea towards the new station box at Canary Wharf where work is underway to prepare for their arrival and to allow the machines to enter the station next year. Both machines will then receive maintenance while in the large station box, before continuing their journeys towards Whitechapel, Liverpool Street and Farringdon. The TBMs are due to arrive at Farringdon in late 2014.

"The start of tunnelling in east London marks another major milestone in the construction of Crossrail," said Stephen Hammond, Crossrail Minister. "It yet again shows the engineering expertise involved in delivering this huge infrastructure project for the Capital, set to boost the economy and generate thousands of new jobs. I look forward to following the progress of Elizabeth and Victoria, the two tunnel boring machines, on their journey towards Farringdon."

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail's Chief Executive added: "With the start of work on Crossrail's eastern tunnels we are seeing the biggest construction project in Europe now tunnelling on both sides of the capital. This is a significant step towards the huge transport improvements Crossrail will deliver, creating much needed additional capacity and faster new links with London's major employment areas. By using boats and barges to deliver and remove materials from these tunnels, this will keep thousands of lorries off the road in east London."