A new tunnel segment manufacturing plant has begun full operations in west London.
Construction staff are hard at work pouring the first batch of 250,000 concrete segments that will line the 26 miles of Crossrail tunnels.
The plant is at Old Oak Common and will employ about 60 people at its peak, including the first of 15 trainees. Segment production has begun ahead of the start of Crossrail tunnelling next month.
The first tunnel boring machine is currently being assembled at Westbourne Park. The concrete segments will be loaded onto the 1,000 tonne mobile underground factory. As the 140 metre long machines advance forward the precast concrete segments will be formed into rings to line the tunnels behind the TBM cutter head.
Joint venture contractors, BAM Ferrovial Kier (BFK), will manufacture more than 75,000 tunnel segments at the Old Oak Common site to be used in the 4 mile twin tunnels running between Royal Oak in west London and Farringdon.
Construction of the segment factory for the eastern running tunnels between Farringdon and Docklands is currently underway at Chatham in Kent and scheduled for completion in late April.
Says Crossrail’s Western Tunnels Project Manager Andy Alder, ‘Preparations are well underway for the start of Crossrail tunnelling next month. Ahead of that, we are stockpiling tunnel segments and have begun pouring the first batches of more than 250,000 concrete segments that will be made to line 42 kilometres of Crossrail tunnels.’
The factory will produce more than 200 segments per day at its peak and include a laboratory to test the quality of the concrete to ensure that the segments have a 120 year life. Once the tunnel is built the site will be converted for use as a train depot.