Crossrail unveils its 7th Tunnelling Boring Machine (TBM) as it powers on with the gigantic Crossrail `marathon' project to link the Southeast Town of Abbeywood, through Woolwich, Paddington and Heathrow all the way to Maidenhead in the Southwest.
The new machine, named Jessica (after Olympic British Heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE), has started the 1.7 mile leg from Pudding Mill Lane in Stratford to the Olympic Park near Stepney Green.
Shortly, another TBM named Ellie, will join Jessica as a running partner. Ellie was named after Paralympic swimming gold-medallist, Ellie Simmonds.
Crossrail said, the two names were suggested by Marion Richardson Primary School in Stepney. The school won Crossrail's TBM naming competition. It comes as the project confirmed completion of the westbound cavern, "40m below ground in Stepney Green". The eastbound cavern was completed 3 months earlier.
The project also confirmed it has unvelled and submitted it's new design for Abbeywood Station for approval. It said the new station will be completely transformed into an ultra-modern landmark.
Crossrail said expected changes at Abbeywood will add two new ‘island’ platforms for Crossrail and North Kent services, bring a bright, spacious concourse that leads directly onto a `wide forecourt connecting the station to the Harrow Manorway dual carriageway which runs above the current station'.
It said the new station will also incorporate six lifts to help passengers get around, and to provide step-free access to every platform, as well as add up to 12 extra trains an hour to link Abbey Wood with central London and beyond, slashing journey times and reducing congestion on existing services.
Since the start of the tunnelling work, the projects archaeology digs have uncovered several secret past of the host communities, including skeletons and a piece of gold. Crossrail said the 16th Century gold coin was discovered at it’s Liverpool Street Station site and is thought to have been a wealthy person’s pendant.
By the time it is complete, Crossrail's Tunnelling project, between Abbeywood and Maidenhead, would have involved a total of 8 TBMs to create 26 miles of tunnelling route.
Woolwich has a Crossrail Station now approved for it. A station for the town was not in the original plan.
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