First Crossrail Tunneling Machine Completes Her Journey in London

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Crossrail tunneling machine Phyllis has finished the project’s first train tunnel, 17 months after commencing her 4.2-mile (6.8-km) journey from Royal Oak in west London and Farringdon in central London.

Phyllis and six other Crossrail tunneling machines have collectively passed the 13-mile mark (21.4 km) of their 26-mile marathon to build major new train tunnels under London as part of works to deliver the most significant addition to London’s transport in a generation.

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Phyllis’ sister machine, Ada, is in the Holborn area and is due to complete tunnelling during the winter while another six machines will finish tunneling next year.

During the coming weeks, Phyllis will be dismantled and her 130-m long trailer system will be removed from the tunnel via the recently completed Fisher Street shaft.

Andy Mitchell, Crossrail Program Director said: “Crossrail’s construction continues to move ahead at a significant pace. Crossrail has not only completed the first Crossrail tunnel under London but has reached the half-way point for our tunneling machines with a phenomenal 13 miles of tunnels constructed to-date. A further six tunneling machines are currently hard at work constructing over 100 m of new tunnel each day with major tunneling due to complete next year.”

This week, the final pre-cast concrete rings will be cast at Crossrail’s temporary concrete segment factory for the western tunnels at Old Oak Common. The rings are erected by the tunneling machine as it excavates the earth and moves forward underground.

More than 1,000 people are working on the western tunnel section of the project, building new train tunnels between Royal Oak at Farringdon, and new passenger, platform and service tunnels for new stations at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon. Another 9,000 people are working across the project.

When it opens in 2018, Crossrail will transform train travel across London and the south east, delivering faster journey times, boosting London’s rail capacity by 10 percent and bringing an additional 1.5 million people closer to the capital’s business centers. Over 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year.

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