Crossrail starts Docklands tunnel drive

Crossrail tunnel boring machine (TBM) Jessica has started work on a 900-metre tunnel in London’s Docklands.

Described by Crossrail as the project’s shortest tunnel drive, the tunnel will form part of the south-east spur of the new route.

The tunnel begins from a 35m deep access shaft alongside the mouth of the River Lea, and will run to Victoria Dock Portal, where the Crossrail tracks reach the surface at Custom House station.

Jessica, which was named in honour of London 2012 gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE, completed her original 2.7-kilometre tunnel drive from Pudding Mill Lane to one of Europe’s largest mined caverns at Stepney Green three months ago.

More than 80 per cent of Crossrail’s tunnelling works have now been delivered.

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail chief executive said: “The end is now in sight for Crossrail’s tunnelling marathon.

“We wish those operating Jessica a safe and speedy journey through to Victoria Dock. While this is our shortest tunnel drive, it still forms an important part of Cross-rail’s south-east spur, which will bring tremendous benefits to Docklands and south east London.”