UK: On December 10 Crossrail Ltd awarded tunnelling contracts worth £1·25bn covering 18 km of the 21 km of twin bores required for the cross-London rail link.

Contracts covering four sections of tunnel have been provisionally awarded, subject to the mandatory 10-day review period required under European contract law. The winning consortia are:

  • Contract C300 (Western Running Tunnels, Royal Oak to Farringdon): a joint venture of BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) and Kier Construction Ltd;
  • Contract C410 (access shafts and tunnel spray lining works at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road station tunnels): a joint venture of BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) and Kier Construction Ltd;
  • Contract C305 (Eastern Running Tunnels, Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon and Victoria Dock, Stepney Green to Pudding Mill Lane): a joint venture of Dragados SA and John Sisk & Son (Holdings) Ltd;
  • Contract C510 (access shafts and tunnel lining at Whitechapel and Liverpool Street station tunnels): a joint venture of Alpine BeMo Tunnelling, Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering, Morgan Sindall (infrastructure) plc and Vinci Construction Grands Projets.

Crossrail intends to combine the first two contracts under a single award as part of the rephrased delivery schedule that is intended to deliver £1bn in cost savings across the project. The revised timescale outlined in the UK government’s recent Comprehensive Spending Review calls for the central tunnel section to be open by the end of 2018. Tunnelling work is expected to begin in late 2011, with the first TBM drive starting from the western portal at Royal Oak towards Farringdon in spring 2012.

Crossrail plans to award a further set of tunnelling contracts next year to cover the bores under the River Thames between North Woolwich and Plumstead.

  • Read more about Crossrail station developments in the December issue of Railway Gazette International