Elizabeth and sister tunnelling machine Victoria were lowered 40m underground into a shaft at Limmo Peninsula, next to Canning Town station, last month. With the machines in place, Her drive to Farringdon is Crossrail’s longest tunnel section. Victoria will also set off on the eastern tunnels in the next couple of weeks.
As the 150m-long TBMs grind forwards, precast concrete segments are put in place to form concrete rings to line the tunnels. Elizabeth has now placed the first of the 110,000 concrete segments that will line the eastern tunnels.
All of the concrete segments are being manufactured at a new facility in Chatham in Kent before being delivered by barge to the east London site. Ships will also being used to transport excavated material from the eastern tunnelling work to Wallasea Island in Essex where it be used to create a new 1,500 acre RSPB nature reserve.
The eastern section of Crossrail will see Elizabeth and Victoria tunnel beneath the River Lea towards the new station box at Canary Wharf where work is already underway to prepare for their arrival and to allow the machines to easily enter the station next year. Both machines will then receive maintenance while in the large station box, before continuing their journeys towards Whitechapel, Liverpool Street and Farringdon. Elizabeth and Victoria are scheduled to arrive at Farringdon in late 2014.
Across the whole Crossrail project, eight tunnelling machines will construct 21km of twin tunnels under London.