Crossrail lowers tunnelling machine into peninsula
Crossrail has lowered a 550 tonne tunnelling machine into a 40m shaft in the Limmo peninsula near Canning Town in preparation for the next stage of construction.
The operation required one of the largest cranes in Europe to lift the equivalent of 280 London taxis.
"Elizabeth" is now underground but the team will have to repeat the exercise with her sister machine "Victoria".
Later this year, Elizabeth will travel under the River Lea towards Canary Wharf and work has started to prepare Crossrail's Canary Wharf station to receive Elizabeth, with workers breaking out the hard concrete at the tunnel eyes to allow for the machines to enter the station next year.
Crossrail chief executive Andrew Wolstenholme said: "Elizabeth and Victoria will construct Crossrail's longest tunnel section - 8.3km between Canning Town and Farringdon.
"When Crossrail is completed it will dramatically improve transport in east London and bring places like Custom House and Abbey Wood to within 20 minutes of London's major employment areas."
The assembly of the tunnelling machines and their gantries will be completed underground creating two 148m tunnelling factories.
A large conveyer system will be constructed to take the earth from the bottom of the shaft onto nearby ships at a jetty that will take 1.2million tonnes of earth to Wallasea Island to create a new RSPB nature reserve.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson, said: "With every twist of these giant boring machines we are unleashing the huge economic opportunities stemming from this ambitious infrastructure project.
"Furthermore, the construction of Crossrail's eastern section is demonstrating London's world-class engineering expertise and providing thousands of technical training and job opportunities."