The Crossrail project reached a major milestone today with completion of tunnelling work carried out as part of the Â£14.8 billion development to build a new east-west railway across London.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin joined the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London to celebrate the end of tunnelling at Farringdon. Work began in the summer of 2012, with 81,000-tonne tunnelling machines boring 26 miles of new rail tunnels underneath the capital.
When Crossrail fully opens in 2019, it will provide east-west travel across London and the South East, from Reading and Heathrow through to Shenfield and Abbey Wood. The central section will open ahead of this in 2018.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: â€œCrossrail is an incredible feat of engineering that will help to improve the lives of working people in London and beyond. The project is a vital part of our long term plan to build a more resilient economy by helping businesses to grow, compete and create jobs right along the supply chain.â€
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin added: â€œThis is a major milestone in the most ambitious rail project this country has seen for decades. The Crossrail project showcases British engineering at its best, and I congratulate everyone involved in this impressive achievement.
â€œWhen the first trains start running through these tunnels from 2018, Crossrail, together with the billions of pounds we are investing in the Thameslink Programme, will transform travel across London and the South East. It will also play a vital role in driving forward our long-term economic plan by boosting business and creating thousands of new jobs.â€
Farringdon is set to become one of the UKâ€™s largest rail hubs with direct connections to London Underground and upgraded Thameslink services. Crossrail will also provide direct connections to three of Londonâ€™s five airports and international rail services at St Pancras International.
Construction work will now focus on fitting out the new tunnels and stations, with more than 12,000 people currently working on the scheme.