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Crossrail’s second TBM sets off

22 Aug 12 Crossrail’s second tunnel boring machine (TBM) has started tunnelling towards Paddington following the arrival of the first machine at the station.

The first TBM, Phyllis, has travelled 750m from Royal Oak in west London, arriving on 8 August. The second TBM, Ada, broke ground yesterday at Royal Oak portal and started out towards Paddington.

Crossrail Area Director West Keith Sibley said: “Our first TBM, Phyllis, has now successfully reached Paddington having carefully navigated under London Underground’s Hammersmith & City line and the Great Western Main Line. A second TBM, Ada, has now commenced tunnelling. Once Ada has made sufficient progress, Phyllis will move forward through the Paddington station box onwards to Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and then Farringdon. The tunnels between Royal Oak and Farringdon will be completed in late 2013."

Over 12,000 segments have now been produced at the Old Oak Common concrete segment plant for the western tunnels. A total of 3,680 segments have been used to construct the western tunnels to-date.

Work to install the major conveyor system behind the TBMs will complete once Ada is fully below ground. A total of 24km of conveyer belt will be used to remove excavated material from the western tunnels.

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Rail sidings have been constructed to allow freight trains operated by GB Railfreight to access Westbourne Park to transport the excavated material to Northfleet, Kent from where it will be shipped to Wallasea Island in Essex to create a RSPB nature reserve. A total of 66,000t of excavated material has been transported to Northfleet so far.

Two kilometres of 900mm narrow gauge tunnel railway has been also laid from Westbourne Park to enable tunnel locomotives to transport materials and supplies into and out of the tunnel.

Eight TBMs will be used to construct 21km of Crossrail’s twin bore tunnels running between Royal Oak in west London and Pudding Mill Lane and Plumstead in east London.

A further two tunnel boring machines, Elizabeth and Victoria, are currently being assembled at Limmo Peninsula beside Canning Town station for the eastern tunnels between Docklands and Farringdon. A fifth TBM, Sophia, has recently completed factory testing. Early next year Sophia will begin constructing the 2.6km Thames Tunnel between Plumstead and North Woolwich.

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