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Crossrail tunnelling milestone reached for Abbey Wood and Woolwich rail link
A 1,000 TONNE tunnelling beast has broken through to Woolwich – marking the halfway point for a Crossrail project which will shorten journey times for Abbey Wood commuters.
Two hundred thousand tonnes – around the weight of 33,000 elephants – has been shifted so far by twin tunnel boring machines Mary and Sophia in tunnelling for the £16 billion rail link.
The tunnelling project’s milestone was hit as 110-metre-long machine Mary reached Woolwich’s station box having jointly carved out a mile and a half of new tunnel from Plumstead to Woolwich.
Abbey Wood passengers can expect to shave at least 15 minutes off journey times to Bond Street and 40 minutes off travelling to Heathrow when the route opens in 2018.
Project manager for Crossrail’s Thames Tunnel Gus Scott said: “It’s great to know that we’re half way through our tunnelling in southeast London.
“Mary and Sophia have done a fantastic job so far, between them constructing a mile and a half of brand new tunnels from Plumstead to Woolwich.”
The slurry machines are built to deal with the specific chalk, flint and wet ground conditions they will meet on their journey beneath the Thames to North Woolwich.
Mary alone excavated around 110,000 tonnes of material and lined the tunnel with 811 concrete rings in her three month voyage to meet her sister at the Woolwich box.
The soil removed by the machines are pumped out as liquid slurry to a treatment plant in Plumstead where it is separated into sand, gravel, water and cakes of chalk.
Sophia reached Woolwich in May and is being geared up to begin the second leg under the Thames shortly.
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