The first large scale redundancy on the Crossrail project has taken place — as the first of their mighty tunnel boring machines has completed its work.
The TBM — called Phyllis after Phyllis Pearsall who created the original London A-Z Maps — set off from Royal Oak last May has been burrowing under Central London. It has just arrived at Farringdon Station having completed 4.2 miles of tunnel.
Having arrived, its fate is less glamourous as over the coming weeks, Phyllis will be dismantled and her 130 metre long trailer system will be removed from the tunnel via the recently completed Fisher Street shaft further down the tunnel in Holborn.
Phyllis and six other tunnelling machines have collectively passed the 13 mile mark (21.4 km) of their 26 mile tunnelling marathon.
The TBM has naturally, dug just one tunnel — and the other tunnel next to if for trains heading in the other direction should be completed later this year.
You can see the location of all the current TBMs digging under London on this map. Guess which one is finished.
Crossrail’s eight tunnelling machines are building ten different tunnels to collectively deliver 26 miles of new tunnels under London. Tunnelling machine, Phyllis, has completed her tunnel drive and will be dismantled leaving just the front “can” in situ. A further six tunnel boring machines (TBM) are still working under London and the final TBM, Ellie, will launch this winter.
If you were interested, the TBMs are converging on Farringdon rather than running right through as during survey work they found a fault line in the area, which not impossible for a TBM to drive through, adds complications to the work.
So, we now have four TBMs drilling the central tunnels heading into the centre of London — two from just outside Paddington, and two from near Canning Town in Docklands.
Crossrail is asking Londoners to submit ideas for items to be included in a time capsule at the Farringdon site to mark the first completed tunnel. Those with the winning suggestions will have the opportunity to be among the first to visit the completed tunnel later this year.
Photo supplied by Crossrail