Crossrail’s final two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have been named after London 2012 gold medalists Jessica Ennis-Hill and Ellie Simmonds.

The project’s seventh and eighth TBMs will join six others currently digging away beneath London’s streets.

Jessica and Ellie are set to begin work on a set of 2.7 km tunnels from Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green, before Jessica is dismantled and transported to Crossrail’s Limmo shaft to complete the last two tunnels to the Victoria Dock Portal.

The names, Jessica and Ellie, were suggested by students from Marion Richardson Primary School in Stepney.

Tunnelling work beneath the capital are almost at their halfway point, with 18 kilometres (11 miles) already completed.

Crossrail programme director Andy Mitchell said: “Crossrail is making good progress with more than 11 miles of tunnel now built.

“We’re delighted that our final two tunnelling machines which start their race at Stratford, have been named after two Olympic heroines and will deliver their own tunnelling marathon under London.

“The Olympics legacy has transformed Stratford and east London, and Crossrail too will transform the way Londoners travel and support regeneration across the capital.”


  1. Not wishing to cast aspersions on the excellent choices of Marion Richardson Primary School, but couldn’t they have chosen some female gold medallists from London?