The TBMs, which will open up to 21 kilometers of underground track in London within the Crossrail programme, involving Ferrovial Agroman, were put into motion yesterday in a ceremony that was attended by the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.
The two enormous machines, each 150 meters long and 1,000 tonnes, have started their way from Royal Oak Portal, west London, to reach Farringdon Station in the east, passing through Bond Street and Tottenhan Court Road. Nearly 40 years after the proposal to create this new railway line, the start of the excavations is a milestone in the implementation of this major transport infrastructure project.
The British transport minister, Justine Greening, said: “The Crossrail project will make a big impact on the lives of generations of Londoners, by reducing journey times and improving connectivity, supporting the economy and creating jobs. It’s very exciting that we have reached this milestone in this display of first-class engineering”.
When the new stations are opened in 2018, these will increase the capacity of the rail network in London by 10%, thus supporting the regeneration of the capital and the southeast of England.
The construction site of the new London commuter train, the construction of which Ferrovial Agroman was involved in, was visited last February by Mariano Rajoy, David Cameron, and the chief executives of Ferrovial.
Within the Crossrail programme, Ferrovial Agroman has been awarded three contracts: The first includes the construction of two tunnels 6.2-kilometers in length that run between Royal Oak and Farringdon,. The second relates to the construction of the entrances, vestibules and platforms of the stations of Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road. Finally, the construction contract for the Farringdon tube station in London was awarded last November. All of them, put the Ferrovial Agroman’s backlog in the United Kingdom at over 1 billion euros.
The biggest infrastructure project in Europe
Crossrail will cross London from east to west linking Heathrow Airport, the city centre, the City and Canary Wharf. This project involves building eight new stations, improving twenty-eight existing ones and linking 21 kilometers of underground track to the 90 already built. It is anticipated that the complete line will be operational in 2018.
Crossrail is one of the largest infrastructure projects currently underway in Europe, with a budget of 18.285 billion euros.