Breakthrough! The Crossrail tunnelling story, Truro

18 May, 2016 | 18:00 - 20:00

Workers on Crossrail witness a breakthrough by a tunnelling machine.
Workers on Crossrail witness a breakthrough by a tunnelling machine.

About this event

A network of new rail tunnels have been built by eight giant tunnel boring machines, to carry Crossrail’s trains eastbound and westbound. Each tunnel is 21 kilometres/13 miles long, 6.2 metres in diameter and up to 40 metres below ground.

Crossrail’s tunnelling marathon under London is now complete. Tunnelling began in May 2012 and ended at Farringdon in May 2015 with the arrival of tunnelling machine Victoria. Over the last three years, eight 1,000 tonne tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have bored 42km or 26 miles of new 6.2 diameter rail tunnels under London. The machines were operated by “tunnel gangs” of 20 people, working in shifts around the clock to construct the tunnels, carving out around 3.4 million tonnes of earth. The tunnels, constructed using TBMs and in stations and caverns using sprayed concrete lining methods, weave their way between existing underground lines, sewers, utility tunnels and building foundations from station to station at depths of up to 42m.

Steve Kay, Crossrail’s Delivery Director for the Civil works, and Mike King, Crossrail’s Head of Underground Construction, will provide a status on the Crossrail programme and explain the tunnelling techniques used together. This is a great opportunity to hear about some of the challenges encountered and how they were overcome, plus understand some of the lessons learned for the industry moving forward.

Event materials

The following materials are available for download: