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Crossrail's Connaught tunnel refurbishment surges ahead

Site workers have begun drilling wells at Connaught Tunnel to draw down the water table ahead of works to deepen and widen the 130 year old tunnel in East London, Crossrail announced this week.

Once the wells are completed, drawing down of the water table will begin next month, which is required ahead of works to widen and deepen the central section of the Connaught Tunnel so it can accommodate Crossrail’s larger trains. The water table is also being lowered to allow for the pump house shaft to be deepened by another 7m to 25 metres for it to accommodate modern pumping equipment that will work to keep the tunnel dry.

During the coming weeks the 130 year old pump house will be removed brick by brick and will be donated to Newham Council. This attractive Victorian building is too small to accommodate the larger modern pumping equipment that will be installed as part of the tunnel’s major refurbishment. Demolition of the former North London Line station at Silvertown is commencing.

Works in Connaught Tunnel are well underway with the ballast – loose stone ground cover – and rail tracks already removed. Major piling works are also underway at the western approach to the tunnel in order to strengthen the ground. Survey work for to identify potential unexploded ordnance from the Second World War has been completed in the tunnel’s western approach with the all clear given. Crossrail’s archaeologists have opened their fourth and final trench for the site, searching for possible evidence of human activity dating back 6,000 years.

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