Crossrail tunneling finally completed—now just 3 years to wait for first train

Cameron gives Crossrail workers a good talking to 120ft below ground [photo: James Jenkins]

Cameron gives Crossrail workers a good talking to 120ft below ground [photo: James Jenkins] - Credit: Crossrail

The long-awaited tunnel digging for the Crossrail ‘super tube’ has finally been completed with the link-up of east London’s twin-bore tunnels with those from the west.

Crosasrail's completed tunnel under East London [photo: Andrew Parish]

Crosasrail's completed tunnel under East London [photo: Andrew Parish] - Credit: Crossrail

The completion was marked when Prime Minister David Cameron ventured 120ft underground yesterday to greet the construction workers at Farringdon, in the City.

“Crossrail is an incredible feat of engineering,” he said. “This project is a vital part of our long-term plan to build a more resilient economy by helping businesses grow, compete and create jobs right along the supply chain.”

It is a vital component in East London’s Whitechapel Master Plan to create a business and commercial district rivalling the West End.

Whitechapel Crossrail station now under construction will be one of East London’s major transport hubs, interchanging with the Underground and Overground. First trains start running in 2018, direct to Heathrow Airport and Reading in the west, Shenfield and Abbey Wood to the east.

Crossrail tunnelling ready to run trains by 2018 [photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]

Crossrail tunnelling ready to run trains by 2018 [photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images] - Credit: Getty Images


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The eastward section branches at Whitechapel, with one leg going to Stratford and Shenfield, the other to Canary Wharf and burrowing under the Thames to Abbey Wood.

The work on the £15 billion scheme began back in 2009 when excavations started at Canary Wharf. The tunnelling itself began when east London hosted the Olympics in the summer of 2012, working its way westward from Canning Town through Canary Wharf, Stepney Green, Whitechapel, and Liverpool Street to join with tunnelling from Paddington.

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It has now completed 26 miles, each tunnel around 20ft in diameter.

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan said: “This is the most significant addition to London’s transport network in a generation and one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken in the UK.”

Construction is also advancing on stations such as Canary Wharf and Whitechapel, with 10,000 people currently working on Crossrail including 450 apprentices.

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