Another landmark has been celebrated on the £14bn Crossrail project.
Tunnel boring machine Ellie has broken through at Victoria Dock Portal in east London, marking structural completion of the southeast spur of the trans-London line.
The final drive from Whitechapel to Farringdon has also been started by TBM Elizabeth, with all Crossrail’s tunnels set to be created by early next year.
Crossrail programme director Simon Wright said: “The end is in sight for Crossrail’s tunnelling marathon.
“Having successfully delivered all bored tunnels west of Farringdon and east of Whitechapel, we now begin the final push to complete tunnelling at Farringdon next year.
“The next challenge is to fit out the tunnels and stations with systems to run Crossrail trains through central London in 2018.”
Ellie set off from Limmo Peninsula last month for one of the project’s shortest but most complex drives.
The machine successfully travelled 900m in close proximity to the Rivers Thames and Lee as well as the Docklands Light Railway, Jubilee Line and various utilities. Ellie will now be dismantled and returned to its manufacturer to be recycled.
Elizabeth is 60% through Crossrail’s longest drive, the 8.3km journey from Limmo to Farringdon.
The final section to Farringdon will reach the deepest point on the Crossrail route, approximately 40m beneath street level near the Barbican in the City of London.
Each of Crossrail’s eight tunnel boring machines weighs 1,000 tonnes, and is up to 150m long and 7.1m in diameter.