A NEW tunnel has been carved under the Thames to link Plumstead with North Woolwich as part of Crossrail’s £14.8bn rail project.

1,000 tonne tunnel boring machine Sophia reached the North Woolwich milestone on January 29 after setting off from Plumstead in August last year.

News Shopper: The tunnel under the Thames carved by Sophia

Crossrail’s team are celebrating as more than 70 per cent of rail tunnels have now been constructed for the project which will link Abbey Wood with central London.

Sophia, named after the wife of Marc Isambard Brunel who built the first tunnel under the Thames, is one of eight 150 metre-long machines creating the 6.2m diameter tunnel networks.

News Shopper: A Crossrail workman in the tunnel carved by Sophia

Her sister Mary will shortly be launched from the Woolwich box to complete the final section of tunnelling in the southeast.

Crossrail Chief Executive Andrew Wolstenholme OBE said: "The tunnelling teams deserve tremendous credit for their safe and efficient progress in constructing this major new railway under London.

"The end is now in sight for Crossrail tunnelling with over 70 per cent of the new rail tunnels now constructed."

He went on to say the next major stage would be the fit-out of tunnels and stations.