Deep under the City of London as TBM Elizabeth broke into the eastern end of Liverpool Street Crossrail station, a tunneller waved to workers on the other side.
Crossrail tunnelling is on track to be completed in the spring of this year. The focus will then shift towards fitting out tunnels and stations.
Eight 1,000-tonne TBMs have bored over 39 kilometres of new, 6.2-metre diameter, rail tunnels under London. with tunnelling due to complete in spring 2015.
Construction is progressing well on the 10 new Crossrail stations and on works above ground west of Paddington and east of Stratford.
Over 10,000 people are currently working on Crossrail, including nearly 400 apprentices. Many jobs remain, among them a plan to excavate the former Bedlam burial ground in Liverpool Street.
This will commence in March 2015 and will enable construction of the Broadgate ticket hall. The dig will exhume thousands of bodies and artefacts dating from Roman times through to the 18th century.
Further afield, the Wallasea Island nature reserve in Essex, constructed using Crossrail-excavated material, will be flooded with sea water this summer. The idea is to create new wetlands for bird and marine life. Construction of the major new Crossrail depot at Old Oak Common is underway and will continue throughout 2015.
Starting on 31 May 2015, Transport for London (TfL) will begin operating the existing train services between Shenfield and Liverpool Street. Ahead of the new Crossrail trains arriving on the Shenfield to Liverpool Street services in 2017, TfL will clean up the existing trains and refresh them inside and out.
Says Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail chief executive, ‘Crossrail is being delivered on time and within budget. While we are over 60 per cent complete there is still a huge amount of work to be undertaken as the challenge shifts to the complicated and substantial task of fitting out the stations and tunnels with the necessary systems and equipment to enable Crossrail services to operate.’