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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2013 Vol 3 No 1
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journey from Plumstead to North Woolwich Crossrail tunnelling in southeast London gets underway

  • Crossrail’s tunnelling machine Sophia gets going as work starts on newest rail tunnel under the Thames
  • Machine specially equipped to deal with chalk and flint ground conditions in southeast London
  • Crossrail will cut journey times to central London by up to 20 minutes for local residents.

Sophia, (named after the wife of Marc Isambard Brunel who built the first tunnel under the Thames) Crossrail’s fifth tunnelling machine, has began her journey from Plumstead to North Woolwich (aerial picture above) as part of the construction of a tunnel under the River Thames for London’s new rail link. Joint Venture Hochtief Murhpy is constructing the southeastern tunnels..

The 110 metre long, 1,000 tonne machine (left)is scheduled to drill at an average rate of around 100 metres a week,   The 110 metre long, 1,000 tonne machine (left)is scheduled to drill at an average rate of around 100 metres a week, installing precast concrete segments as rings to form the tunnel lining as it advances forwards. The diameter of her cutter head is 7.1 metres. Sophia’s sister machine, Mary, is scheduled to start tunneling in mid-2013, and will construct a second tunnel alongside the first.

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