Crossrail today started its shortest tunnel drive from Limmo Peninsula, beside Canning Town station, towards Victoria Dock Portal in east London, as the project reports 80% completion of tunnelling.
Tunnelling machine Jessica will create the 900m tunnel forming part of the south-east spur of London’s new rail line. The tunnel begins from a 35m deep access shaft alongside the mouth of the River Lea, and will run to Victoria Dock Portal, where the Crossrail tracks reach the surface at Custom House station. It is Jessica’s second tunnelling mission, having already completed a tunnel from Pudding Mill Lane, near Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to Stepney Green over the winter.
Jessica’s launch continues Crossrail’s good progress with over 80% of rail tunnels now complete. Later this year Jessica’s sister machine Ellie will create the second tunnel from Limmo Peninsula to Victoria Dock Portal. Crossrail is creating 42km of bored tunnels using eight TBMs, four of which have already retired after completing their journeys.
Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail Chief Executive said: “The end is now in sight for Crossrail’s tunnelling marathon. We wish those operating Jessica a safe and speedy journey through to Victoria Dock. While this is our shortest tunnel drive, it still forms an important part of Crossrail’s south-east spur, which will bring tremendous benefits to Docklands and south east London.”
Crossrail aims for at least 95% of its excavated material to be beneficially reused. This includes transporting materials by river barge to Wallasea Island in Essex where it will help form a new nature reserve, established in partnership with RSPB. The concrete segments lining the tunnel are manufactured in Chatham, Kent and also transported to Limmo Peninsula by river barge.
When Crossrail opens in 2018, it will increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent and cut journey times across the city, bringing an extra 1.5m people to within 45 minutes of central London.