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Crossrail starts preparatory works at Royal Oak tunnel site

Posted: 5 February 2010 | | No comments yet

Europe’s largest infrastructure project, Crossrail, is moving ahead with preparatory work now underway for the railway’s future tunnel entrance.

Europe's largest infrastructure project, Crossrail, is moving ahead with preparatory work now underway for the railway's future tunnel entrance.

With the start of a new year, Europe’s largest infrastructure project, Crossrail, is moving ahead with preparatory work now underway for the railway’s future tunnel entrance at Royal Oak in west London.

Artist's impression of Crossrail

Artist's impression of Crossrail

The preparatory work commenced in late January and is being managed by Network Rail on behalf of Crossrail.

Work on the tunnel portal structure will involve construction of a 190 metre long diaphragm walled box to form the foundation from which tunnelling will commence in late 2011. Construction of the western tunnel portal will continue following the start of tunnelling and will be completed in 2014.

Surveys of the site have now been completed and in the meantime the contractor will shortly construct protective barriers next to Royal Oak Tube station to safeguard existing Network Rail and London Underground engineering assets and locate site offices.

Crossrail Chief Executive Rob Holden said:

“2010 is a huge year for Crossrail, with main construction commencing on Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Work is now underway at Canary Wharf, Farringdon, Paddington and Tottenham Court Road with construction at the remaining stations on Crossrail’s central section beginning this year.

“The first tangible signs of preparations for Crossrail’s epic tunnelling journey under central London are now visible at Royal Oak. Over the coming months construction work on the western tunnel portal will advance allowing delivery and construction of the first tunnel boring machine ahead of tunnelling commencing in late 2011.”

In late 2011, the first tunnel boring machine will start out on its journey from Royal Oak towards Farringdon. This will be followed shortly by the launch of a further tunnel boring machine in Docklands that will head towards Farringdon under central London.

The first two major rail tunnelling contracts that will deliver tunnels underneath central London linking the Great Eastern and Great Western mainlines and will form the centrepiece of the Crossrail project are expected to be awarded by mid-2010. The remaining third contract will be awarded at a later date.

Once complete in 2017, new 10-carriage trains carrying at least 1,500 passengers will travel through the 21km long tunnels, significantly reducing journey times between Heathrow, the West End, the City and Canary Wharf and providing new journey opportunities and much needed additional transport capacity.

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