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Assembly begins on Crossrail's Elizabeth digger

Assembly of the Crossrail project’s next 1,000 tonne tunnel boring machine, named Elizabeth, commenced today at the Limmo Peninsula in East London.

It will take four months to transfer all the components from Tilbury Docks and re-assemble them, before lowering them in sections into two launch shafts.

They will then be assembled below ground, and the boring machine will begin work on Crossrail’s two eastern tunnels running between the Docklands and central London.

The temporary bottom of the two launch shafts has been reached, and work has begun on sprayed concrete-lined tunnels to connect them.

The larger of the shafts is 30m in diameter and will be 44m deep when completed.

Another boring machine, Victoria, is due to commence tunnelling this winter, having completed factory testing last week. There are eight in total.

Victoria and Elizabeth will construct the longest section of the £14.8bn project’s tunnel, measuring 8.3km to Farringdon, via Canary Wharf, Whitechapel and Liverpool Street.

Crossrail eastern tunnel project manager Peter Main said: These machines will carve some 1.2 million tonnes of excavated material from under London and help build a rail line that will transform rail transport in the capital.”

“When Crossrail opens, passengers will be able to travel from Abbey Wood to Farringdon station in just 20 minutes or between Stratford and Heathrow in less than 45 minutes.”

A new dock and conveyor system at the Limmo site will take excavated material from the eastern tunnels to Wallasea Island in Essex be ship, where it will be used to create Europe’s largest man-made inter-tidal nature reserve.


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