Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Elizabeth has successfully broken in to the eastern end of Liverpool Street Crossrail station.
The breakthrough, 40m beneath the City of London, is part of Crossrail’s longest tunnel drive, 8.3km from Limmo Peninsula, near Canning Town, to Farringdon.
Elizabeth now has 750m of tunnel to bore, before arriving at its final destination at Farringdon station. When the tunnel drive is completed, all Crossrail tunnels will be linked for the first time with the big east/west breakthrough at Farringdon in spring.
Elizabeth’s sister machine Victoria will arrive at Farringdon a few weeks later. On completion, a total of 42km of tunnel will have been bored as part of Europe’s largest infrastructure project. 40km out of 42km have now been constructed.
Elizabeth and Victoria each weigh 1,000t, are 150m long and more than 7m in diameter. They are the last of eight Crossrail TBMs to have carved a route beneath London linking the West End, the City, Canary Wharf and south east London.
Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail chief executive, said: “We are now on the final countdown to the big east/west breakthrough at Farringdon, which will link all of Crossrail’s tunnels for the first time.
“The next challenge is to implement railway systems across the route, keeping the project on time and within budget.”
Liverpool Street is one of 10 new Crossrail stations being built in central and south east London.
Joint Venture Dragados Sisk is constructing the eastern tunnels between Pudding Mill Lane and Stepney Green, Limmo Peninsula and Farringdon, and Victoria Dock Portal and Limmo. The station tunnels at Liverpool Street have been built by a joint venture comprising Balfour Beatty, BeMo Tunnelling, Morgan Sindall and Vinci Construction.
The service is expected to be fully operational in 2019.