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Crossrail TBMs move into position

The first Crossrail tunnel boring machines (TBM) are now ready to begin tunnelling, and are being moved into place at Royal Oak Portal. The tunnels will be 21km long in total, will pass through 37 stations and is providing £250m worth of contracts to over 50 UK companies.

Crossrail is set to add £42bn to the economy, with another 4,000 contract opportunities yet to be advertised.

The TBMs have begun the journey to Royal Oak Portal, from where they will start tunnelling next week, travelling 6.4km to Farringdon. The two machines have been named Phyllis and Ada following a public competition.

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan said: “The start of tunnelling is a hugely significant and symbolic milestone. Massive progress has been made since the start of Crossrail construction in May 2009 with work underway at nearly twenty sites along the route. Crossrail will bring significant economic and transport benefits to London and the south east with hundreds of British businesses now part of the Crossrail supply chain.” 

Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme added: “The first tunnel boring machine will shortly get underway on its journey fromRoyal Oakto Farringdon via Paddington,Bond Streetand Tottenham Court Road and will arrive at Farringdon in autumn 2013. Further machines will be launched later in 2012 and beyond. The extent the tunnels to be built underLondonare on a scale not seen for many years. By late 2014, over 21km of twin-bore tunnel will have been constructed.”

Transport secretary Justine Greening said: “Crossrail will make a huge difference to generations of Londoners, reducing journey times, improving connectivity, supporting the economy and creating jobs. It’s exciting that we’ve reached this landmark for this world-class testament to our engineering excellence.”

Richard Coackley, president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “This project really is a true feat of engineering – giant 1,000 tonne machines each 150 metres long carving 21 kilometres of twin tunnels underLondon, with the ultimate aim of improving quality of life and boosting theLondoneconomy. If anything could excite and inspire young people to take engineering as a career, it’s a project like this.”

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “This mammoth project has already delivered thousands of skilled jobs in London, and once complete will create significant extra capacity to help people travel around this great city, dramatically reducing journey times to support the economic resilience of our capital over decades to come.” 

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