Engineers have excavated down to the new Crossrail tunnels, breaking into the top of them 16 metres below ground level, as part of construction of the new station at Paddington.

Contractors Costain Skanska will excavate the earth between the two tunnels creating a large open station platform level. Once excavation is completed, they will start building the station platforms and laying the track bed.

Costain Skanska JV Construction Manager Andy Mooney said: “Reaching the tunnels marks an important phase in the construction of Paddington station. The excavation down 16 metres underneath Eastbourne Terrace will allow us, once we have removed all of the 2,640 individual tunnel segments, to start the construction of the platforms and track bed.”

Tunnelling machines named Phyllis and Ada built the new train tunnels through Paddington at the beginning of 2013 ahead of completing their 6.8km journeys to Farringdon in autumn 2013.

Costain Skanska’s workforce of 400 subsequently excavated enough earth to fill 44 Olympic-sized swimming pools to reach the western running tunnels.

Following the completion of the platform and track bed construction, system-wide contractor ATC (Altsom, TSO & Costain) will commence fit-out of the new tunnels with track and other rail infrastructure.

The last station the new Crossrail trains will pass eastbound before reaching Paddington is Acton Main Line, before trains go underground at Royal Oak four minutes later. Click here to see pictures of the tunnelling at the Royal Oak end. 

The new Paddington Crossrail station is being constructed adjacent to the existing National Rail station under Eastbourne Terrace. The 250 metre long and 30 metre wide station will include a 120 metre long glass canopy. A Cloud Index artwork by world renowned artists Spence Finch will be embedded into the canopy.

Paddington is one of 10 new stations along the Crossrail route. When Crossrail opens in 2018, passengers will be able to travel from Paddington to Liverpool Street in 9 minutes, Canary Wharf in 16 minutes and Abbey Wood in 27 minutes.

The £14.8 billion new line from Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east will enable people to get from Ealing Broadway to Bond Street 11 minutes quicker, and reduce their journey time to Carnary Wharf by 18 minutes. Crossrail's designs for Ealing Broadway Station have now been approved despite opposition.