In Pictures: Crossrail’s Eastern Tunnels & Canary Wharf


As Pedantic of Purley pointed out recently, it has been some time since we properly paid Crossrail some attention. As much as it is important to delve into the world of timetables and capacity though, we should not forget that, as we speak, construction continues beneath the streets of London. Indeed Crossrail’s final Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) actually launched at Pudding Mill today.

With seven other launches now under their belt, however, even Crossrail themselves would likely admit that there is little of interest still to see there. Instead we therefore turn our attention to one of the sections of tunnel and station that is more advanced – the Eastern Tunnels and Canary Wharf station.

The story so far

Stretching from Limmo Peninsular (adjacent to Canning Town DLR) to Farringdon, the Eastern Tunnels represent the largest stretch of boring to be carried out by TBMs on the Crossrail project. Two of Crossrails Herrenknecht TBMs, Victoria and Elizabeth, were lowered into the Limmo shaft in October 2012, with Elizabeth launching first and Victoria shortly after. Last spring Elizabeth reached Canary Wharf, breaking through into the awaiting Canary Wharf station box in May 2013. Since then her journey has continued, reaching Whitechapel at the end of last month. Meanwhile her sister TBM, Victoria, has now also long left Canary Wharf behind, reaching the Stepney Green Caverns at the beginning of the month.

Canary Wharf station itself remains one of the more advanced stations in terms of completion. We last looked at the station back in September and since then, as can be seen from the photos below, work on the internal and subterranean levels has effectively reached fit out stage, with walls and escalators now in place. Meanwhile up on top, the roof is now largely in place (complete with tree-friendly open panels to support growth in the roof garden).

And now, without further ado, the pictures…


The view looking up to the top of the 40 metre deep Limmo shaft


A better view of the conveyor mechanism used to rapidly move spoil up the shaft


Looking down the eastbound tunnel from the shaft (looking west)


Looking down the westbound tunnel from the shaft (looking west)


Looking back down the westbound tunnel (looking east)


Looking east down the eastbound tunnel from the temporary platform at Canary Wharf


The temporary platform at Canary Wharf


How workers and visitors move through the tunnel


Canary Wharf at platform level


The fitted, but boxed in, escalators at platform level


Looking up from platform level at Canary Wharf


Looking down onto the platform level from the ticket hall


The top of the fitted, but boxed in, escalators at ticket hall level


One side of the ticket hall


The other side of the ticket hall


Looking up the ticket hall, next to the lift shaft


The final wall finish


Looking back down the ticket hall, with the final floor finish exposed.


A closer look at the final ticket hall floor finish


Escalators up out of the ticket hall level


A closer look at the escalators (on the other side of the station)


Stairs up to the second level of retail space.


The shop level, beginning to take shape


The bridge over from Canary Wharf Square


At shop level, with the roof latices to the right


The roof garden at Canary Wharf station


A closer view of the roof latices, designed to allow tree growth

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.