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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2013 Vol 3 No 2
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Tunnelling beneath Whitechapel Crossrail station

Tunnelling beneath Whitechapel Crossrail station

Crossrail’s western tunnelsCrossrail’s western tunnels

Work at Connaught Tunnel where an Atlas Copco Brokk demolition machine is removing old brick work.

Work at Connaught Tunnel where an Atlas Copco Brokk demolition machine is removing old brick work.

The Unseen London Marathon

The streets of London will soon be host to thousands of runners and hundreds of thousand spectators for the annual London Marathon which attracts worldwide interest and raises millions of pounds for various charities.

Unbeknownst to most of these people is another marathon that is taking place at the same time hundreds of meters beneath them. The Crossrail east-west rail link is 26 miles (42 km) in length, similar to that of a marathon and, like the road race, is being completed at a record breaking speed. Albeit nothing like the speed of the elite athletes.

The new Crossrail route from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east includes a marathon-equivalent 26 mile (42km) section of tunnels. Following the aerial images of Crossrail construction sites released last month, new tunnelling images released today show how Europe’s biggest construction project is also making its mark beneath the capital.

The new images show tunnelling work underway at Crossrail sites through the project.

  • Five tunnelling machines are now in operation – Phyllis and Ada in west London, Elizabeth and Victoria in east London, and Sophia in Plumstead, southeast London.
  • Together the five machines have created more than 5km / 3 miles of tunnels so far with nearly 500 metres built in the single biggest week of tunnelling to-date.
  • In the western tunnels alone tunnelling machine Phyllis has put over 1,500 tunnel rings in place between Royal Oak and Park Lane at the edge of Hyde Park.
  • The western tunnelling machines will pass through the new Crossrail station at Bond Street this spring followed by Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon later this year, while the eastern tunnelling machines will break through into Canary Wharf station box this spring.

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