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Crossrail C300 Western Running Tunnels Complete

Category: General / 14 February 2014

At 19:23 on 24th January 2014, the BFK (Bam, Ferrovial, Kier joint venture) Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Ada finished building her last ring, reaching her final destination underneath the heart of London and marking the completion of the Crossrail C300 Western Running Tunnels

Ada’s arrival translates into a total of 13 kilometres of new excavated tunnel and over 9,300 concrete rings put in place under some of the most expensive real estate in the world.

Luis Amorim, Ferrovial Agroman BFK Board Member said
“Ada has completed one of the most challenging drives across the whole Crossrail project. This could not have been achieved without the exceptional dedication and skill of the BFK and Crossrail team. Well done and congratulations to everyone who has been involved with this accomplishment.”

Crossrail Western Tunnels Project Manager Andy Alder said:
“There is a temptation on reaching a milestone on a project to look immediately towards the next challenge, and not to stop and celebrate the achievements which soon become forgotten. This is a big day for the C300/410 team and it is worth stopping to reflect on this achievement and how impressive the completion of these drives are.”

Ada has had a much more challenging and eventful drive than her sister Phyllis, who finished in October 2013. Very early in her journey, Ada passed directly beneath the abutment of the Victorian era Lord Hill’s bridge with only 4 metres of overburden cover. This was achieved with no effect on the bridge or the utilities that it carried.

The London Underground users of Totthenham Court road were left unawares as the 950 tonne machine and 130 metre trailer then passed over the live operational Northern Line platform tunnel with only a clearance of 850mm. She passed even closer to London Underground’s old cast iron lined museum tunnel, with negligible induced settlement.

Jose Garcia, BFK Project Director said:
"This has been a huge milestone for Crossrail, for the project, for BFK and including Ferrovial Agroman. Crossrail is the largest construction project in Europe; we all feel very proud to be a part of it. We are now looking forward to completing the rest of the project safely and on time."

After reaching the east end of Farringdon after 18 months of hard tunnelling by her and her crews, Ada will now be encased in concrete next to her sister Phyllis and beneath Chaterhouse Square at Farringdon Station.

BFK is now focused on delivering the SCL platform tunnel excavations at Tottenham Court Road, Bond Street, Fisher Street and Farringdon. At Farringdon, the JV is also building the new Crossrail station to be completed by 2016.

Editors Note


BFK is a joint venture comprising three of the world's leading tunnelling, civil engineering and construction companies: BAM, Ferrovial and Kier. BFK is constructing two railway tunnels that will run for 6.8 km and 6.4 km between the Royal Oak Portal and the new Farringdon Crossrail station and is also building the station tunnel caverns at Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Farringdon.


Crossrail’s eight tunnelling machines are building ten different tunnels to collectively deliver 26 miles of new train tunnels under London. Tunnelling machine, Ada, has completed her tunnel drive and will be dismantled leaving just the front “can” in situ. A further four tunnel boring machine (TBM) are still working under London and the final TBM, Ellie, will launch shortly. The naming of TBMs after women is a long-held tunnelling tradition. Tunnelling machines Ada and Phyllis were named after early computer scientist Ada Lovelace and Phyllis Pearsall who created the London A-Z. Each tunnelling machine is 150 metres long and weighs 1,000 tonnes. A gang of 20 people work in the tunnel each shift to keep each machine operating.

About Crossrail

The total funding envelope available to deliver Crossrail is £14.8bn. The Crossrail route will pass through 38 stations and run from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km (13 miles) tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. When Crossrail opens it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration and cutting journey times across the city. Crossrail services are due to commence through central London in 2018. Crossrail is being delivered by Crossrail Limited (CRL). CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London. Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

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