The tunnel gang celebrates the completion of the first Crossrail train tunnel, dug by TBM Phyllis

The tunnel gang celebrates the completion of the first Crossrail train tunnel, dug by TBM Phyllis

The first of Crossrail’s new train tunnels under London has been completed, just as its seven tunnelling machines have reached the 13 mile (21km) point in their 26 mile (42km) total tunnel build.

Crossrail is currently the largest construction project in Europe, and its tunnelling machine Phyllis has finished the first train tunnel 17 months after starting its 4.2 mile (6.8km) journey between Royal Oak in west London and Farringdon in central London.

Another machine, Ada, is in the Holborn area and is due to complete tunnelling during the winter. A further six machines will finish tunnelling next year.

During the coming weeks, Phyllis will be dismantled and her 130m long trailer system will be removed from the tunnel via the recently completed Fisher Street shaft.

This week, the final pre-cast concrete rings will be cast at Crossrail’s temporary concrete segment factory for the western tunnels at Old Oak Common. The rings are erected by the tunnelling machine as it excavates the earth and moves forward underground.

More than 1,000 people are working on the western tunnel section of the project, building new train tunnels between Royal Oak and Farringdon, and new passenger, platform and service tunnels for stations at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon. Another 9,000 people are working across the project.

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