London’s Crossrail project has achieved a 75 per cent completion milestone after boring machine Victoria broke through into the Whitechapel station on Friday.
Until today, more than 19 miles (32km) of the Crossrail tunnels have been bored as part of the £14.8bn undertaking expected to open for passengers in 2018.
The 150 metre long machine, named after Queen Victoria, began her journey at Limmo Peninsula in east London at the end of 2012. On Friday, she broke into the huge underground space at Whitechapel where work is taking place 35 metres below the surface to create over a kilometre of new platforms and passenger tunnels for the new Crossrail station.
During the second half of 2014, whilst tunnelling will continue, the project’s focus will begin to shift to the job of fitting out the stations and tunnels.
2.5 million tonnes of earth have been removed in the progress of the work by eight boring machine of which three have already finished their tasks.
"We're tantalisingly close to finishing what is without doubt a monumental feat of engineering,” said London Mayor Boris Johnson.
"It's quite remarkable what the Crossrail team has achieved so far and we now look forward to the next exciting stage of the project - the fitting-out of the Crossrail stations of the future."
When Crossrail opens in 2018, it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent and dramatically cut journey times across the city, bringing an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of central London.
Running from Reading in Berkshire in the west to as far east as Shenfield in Essex, Crossrail will pass through 40 stations and reduce cross-London journey times.