Good News Londoners: Crossrail has Finished Digging Tunnels!

By James O Malley on at

Since 2009 London has been covered in dark blue construction hoardings, subjected to closures, delays and diversions - and played host to an occupying army of construction workers. There's still a few years to go before Crossrail opens, but today a major milestone in the construction of the new railway line was reached. All of the gigantic tunnels have now been completed.

Tunnelling started on the line, which runs from Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, to Reading and Heathrow in the west way back in May 2012, just before the Olympics - and now 26 miles later it is just a case of fitting out the track, finishing the stations and testing the trains before the 2018 launch. Easy.

According to the BBC, the fastest day of tunnelling was on the 16th April last year when Ellie, one of the four Tunnel Boring Machines, dug a whole 72m stretch between Pudding Mill Lane and Stepney Green.

Coincidentally, it was this week that the first sign of Crossrail appeared on the Tube Map. The section of the line from Shenfield to Liverpool Street appeared, temporarily branded as "TfL Rail", as Transport for London took over the stretch of line ahead of its integration into Crossrail in a few years time.

Similarly, the first Crossrail buildings have already started to open - with the "Crossrail Place" shopping centre at Canary Wharf opening its doors a few weeks ago, and one of Tottenham Court Road's new entrances becoming publicly accessible for the first time.