Ada and Phyllis get started on Crossrail tunnel

THE 1,000 tonne diggers that will carve out Crossrail’s path across London were unveiled by Mayor of London Boris Johnson yesterday.

Ada and Phyllis, the two giant boring machines, are set to start digging at Royal Oak in west London next week, as part of the four-mile first leg of the Crossrail train tunnel network.

The 150m-long machines will dig east through Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road, arriving in Farringdon by autumn 2013.

The two diggers, the first of eight machines that will eventually work on the route over the next three years, were named after early computer scientist Ada Lovelace and Phyllis Pearsall, who compiled the London A to Z.

The 73-mile Crossrail project is due to open in 2018, spanning stations from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Crossrail chairman Terry Morgan said: “The start of tunnelling is a hugely significant and symbolic milestone. Massive progress has been made since the start of Crossrail construction in May 2009 with work underway at nearly twenty sites along the route.”