UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson celebrated the completion of Crossrail’s tunnels by going 40m below the capital to thank the men and women who are constructing the new £14.8bn east-west railway.
Prime Minister 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.”
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Crossrail tunnelling began in the summer of 2012 and ended at Farringdon with the break through of tunnelling machine Victoria. Eight 1,000 tonne tunnelling machines have bored 42km of new 6.2m diameter rail tunnels under London.
Construction is also advancing on the ten new Crossrail stations and on works above ground west of Paddington and east of Stratford. Over 10,000 people are currently working on Crossrail, including over 450 apprentices.
The Mayor of London, Boris 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.”
Terry Morgan CBE, Crossrail Chairman, said: “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.”
Andrew Wolstenholme OBE, Crossrail Chief Executive, said: “Crossrail is being delivered on time and within budget and will transform how people travel across the capital. Over the last three years, our highly skilled team have worked tirelessly to build these major new tunnels under one of the world’s busiest cities. The challenge now shifts to the complicated and substantial task of fitting out the tunnels and stations to enable Crossrail services to operate.”
Sir Peter Hendy CBE, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “The end of tunnelling marks an impressive milestone in construction. When Crossrail fully opens it will provide much needed new transport links and capacity, helping to support London’s continued economic growth and meet the demands of our rapidly growing population. It is vital that we maintain such investment to meet the challenges of the future.”