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Historic tunnel aids construction of new Crossrail tunnels

Sixty years after it was mothballed, the Kingsway Tram Tunnel in London is once again helping to improve transport in the capital by playing a key role in construction of Crossrail.

The Kingsway tunnel was built in 1906 and once carried trams between Aldwych and Holborn has been used by the London Borough of Camden for storage since its closure in 1952 but it has now been reopened to enable an essential grout shaft to be constructed.

Barhale started work on constructing the 4.5m diameter, 7m deep shaft for main contractor BFK – a joint venture of Bam, Ferrovial and Kier - in the base of the tunnel at the end of June. Once the precast concrete segment lined shaft is complete, Keller will move in to drive radiating tubes-a-manchette from the lower 2m of the shaft that will be used for compensation grouting ahead of the tunnel boring machines passing below the site next year.

Crossrail site manager Roger Mears said: “The grout shaft lies directly between the two TBM drives and the grouting work in this location will be used to protect three listed buildings on the east side of Southampton Row from any settlement caused by the tunnelling. The shaft will remain in place after the TBMs have passed and further grouting may be carried out for up to a year afterwards if our monitoring of the building shows this is necessary.”

Once the grouting work is completed, the tunnel will be restored and the original rails replaced.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Wonderful to see the old tunnel used again. Incidentally the tunnel descended from Southampton Row, ran under the centre of Kingsway, beneath Aldwych and the Strand, to emerge on the Embankment under Waterloo Bridge. I know this well, because many years ago, in the late 1940s, when we were boys in Hornsey, my brother and I dared each other to cycle through that tunnel. We reconnoitred it first, travelling through by tram, just to make sure it was paved all the way through, and not just in the stations, then one day, off we raced, dynamo headlights blazing through the dark. It was wonderful to see the looks of dumbfounded amazement on the faces of all the people standing waiting for trams! (the tunnel was strictly for trams only). Nonetheless it still came as something of a relief to emerge into the daylight on the Embankment.

    Ted Wilson (M)

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