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Crossrail starts short tunnel drive

Crossrail today started its shortest tunnel drive from Limmo Peninsula, beside Canning Town station, towards Victoria Dock Portal in east London.

Tunnelling machine Jessica, named after British Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE, will create the 900m tunnel forming part of the south-east spur of London’s new rail line.

The tunnel begins from a 35m deep access shaft alongside the mouth of the River Lea, and will run to Victoria Dock Portal, where the Crossrail tracks reach the surface at Custom House station. It is Jessica’s second tunnelling mission, having already completed a tunnel from Pudding Mill Lane, near Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to Stepney Green over the winter.

Jessica’s launch continues Crossrail’s good progress with over 80% of rail tunnels now complete. Later this year Jessica’s sister machine Ellie will create the second tunnel from Limmo Peninsula to Victoria Dock Portal. Crossrail is creating 42km of bored tunnels using eight tunnel boring machines, four of which have already retired after completing their journeys.

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