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The Gallery | Crossrail tunnelling completed

Tunnelling for the £14.8bn Crossrail project has been completed.

Prime minister David Cameron and mayor of London Boris Johnson celebrated the completion of the tunnels for the trans-London railway yesterday by going 40m below the capital to thank the men and women who are constructing it.

Crossrail tunnelling began in the summer of 2012 and ended at Farringdon this week with the breakthrough of tunnelling machine Victoria. Eight 1,000t tunnelling machines have bored 42km of 6.2m-diameter rail tunnels under London.

Construction is also advancing on the 10 new Crossrail stations and on works above ground west of Paddington and east of Stratford. More than 10,000 people are currently working on Crossrail, including over 450 apprentices.

Cameron said: “Crossrail is an incredible feat of engineering that will help to improve the lives of working people in London and beyond. The project is a vital part of our long term plan to build a more resilient economy by helping businesses to grow, compete and create jobs right along the supply chain.”

When completed in 2018, Crossrail will add 10% capacity to London’s rail network. It will serve 40 stations, connecting Reading and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. An estimated 200M passengers will travel on Crossrail each year.

Farringdon will become one of the UK’s busiest rail hubs with direct connections to London Underground and upgraded and expanded Thameslink services.

This interchange will provide more capacity and direct connections to three of the five airports in the South East as well as to international rail services at St Pancras.

Passengers will also benefit from quicker connections and will be able to travel to Tottenham Court Road in three minutes, Canary Wharf in nine minutes and Heathrow in just over half an hour.

Johnson said: “This is a landmark moment for London that puts us a gigantic step closer to the launch of an absolutely vital new railway, which will hugely improve our ability to speedily move people across our city.

“Crossrail has already created tens of thousands of jobs and helped boost the skills of many thousands of people not just in the capital, but all around our great nation. It is a wonderful example of our nation’s talent for engineering, a talent that must not be allowed to founder and that I hope will eventually be put to use on the construction of Crossrail 2.”

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This is a major milestone in the most ambitious rail project this country has seen for decades. The Crossrail project showcases British engineering at its best, and I congratulate everyone involved in this impressive achievement.

“When the first trains start running through these tunnels from 2018, Crossrail, together with the billions of pounds we are investing in the Thameslink Programme, will transform travel across London and the South East. It will also play a vital role in driving forward our long-term economic plan by boosting business and creating thousands of new jobs.”

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan added: Crossrail is the most significant addition to London’s transport network in a generation and one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the UK. The completion of Crossrail tunnelling is a truly significant milestone and would not have been possible without the support and commitment of London, our contractors and everyone who works on Crossrail.”

Crossrail facts and figures

  • Start of Crossrail construction began at Canary Wharf on 15 May 2009.
  • The first giant tunnel boring machine broke ground in May 2012. 42km of new train tunnels have been created under London. All eight Crossrail tunnelling machines have now completed their drives.
  • Another 13.5km of new passenger, platform and service tunnels have been constructed within the new Crossrail stations using a technique called sprayed concrete lining.
  • Crossrail’s rolling stock and depot contract was awarded by Transport for London to Bombardier Transportation; and thel train operating concession to MTR Corporation.
  • The surface works, delivered by Network Rail, are now over one-third complete.
  • All 40 Crossrail stations will have step free access from street to platform.
  • Over 450 apprentices have gained work on Crossrail. More than 8,000 people have undertaken training at Crossrail’s Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in Ilford, which opened in 2011
  • Crossrail has plans in place to develop more than 278,709m² of commercial, residential and retail space above its stations and construction sites. Over 92,903m² of this now has planning permission including Bond Street West (Davies Street), 101 Moorgate, Fisher Street and a number of developments above Crossrail Tottenham Court Road station
  • The Culture Line, a programme to deliver a permanent exhibition of large-scale world-class artworks in Crossrail’s central London stations is being delivered in collaboration with leading art galleries. The City of London Corporation is 50% match funding the art works.

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