With all the tunnels that make the Crossrail network complete, the last of the tunnel-boring machines (TBM) that were used to create them are now being taken apart for recycling.The process is happening 40 metres underground, in the tunnel at Farringdon. The machine in question was named Victoria after the 19th century queen. The other eight TBMs were called Elizabeth, Ada, Phyllis, Jessica, Ellie, Mary and Sophia.At present, the TBM’s 130 metre trailer is being removed in pieces through a boring shaft at Stepney Green. Its manufacturer Herrenknect will now reuse the parts for future tunnelling projects.The next stage is to cut the boring head into pieces so that it can also be removed from the tunnel.Roger Mears, Crossrail’s eastern tunnels project manager, said: “Crossrail’s last tunnelling machine, Victoria, has finished her journey and is being dismantled and recycled.“Thanks to the quality of these marvellous machines and skill of the teams who operated them, Crossrail’s tunnels are now complete, ready for the complex task of fitting out the railway.”Over the course of the project, Victoria and the other TBMs have created a total of 26 miles of 6.2 metre diameter rail tunnels under London.The process has been particularly complex, as the TBMs have had to negotiate their way around gas, water, sewage and electric mains, as well as existing underground tracks and stations. At times, the TBMs have been drilling within metres of busy central London Underground stations, up to 42 metres beneath the surface.The first stations on the Crossrail are expected to begin operation in late 2018, with the rest of the route to become fully operational in phases over the subsequent months. The total budget for the project is currently £14.8 billion. The route will link parts of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to south-east London and Essex, passing through central London, and is the pet project of present London mayor Boris Johnson.
Last Crossrail TBM to be recycled
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