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Europe’s largest construction project has unveiled the first of eight, 1,000 tonne tunnel boring machines (TBM) that will construct the new Crossrail tunnels under central London.

The 140 metre long, fully assembled tunnel boring machine (TBM) is currently undergoing factory testing. The machine will shortly be dismantled and shipped to London where it will be re-assembled at Westbourne Park ahead of tunnelling commencing from Royal Oak in March.

To construct the 21km of twin-bore tunnel required for Crossrail, eight tunnel boring machines will be required and will undertake ten individual tunnel drives to construct the 6.2m diameter tunnels. At 140 metres, each TBM would just fit just inside the boundaries of a cricket oval.

The TBMs will bore the tunnelled section of the 118 kilometre rail line that will link Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west with Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. When completed, Crossrail will bring an extra 1.5 million people within 45 minutes journey of London and reduce cross London journey times.