Four winners at an auction in aid of the Berkeley Foundation have created their own piece of Crossrail history by riding the tunnel boring machine for a section in the final leg of its extraordinary 42km underground journey.
Brian Bonnyman and Dale Brennan, from O'Halloran & O'Brien and Brenbar Electrical, were awarded the places after giving the highest bids at a charity auction held this month. Their contributions, alongside match funding from the Berkeley Group, raised nearly £19,000.
The winners rode in Tunnel Boring Machine, Mary - the latest in a family of tunnel boring machines designed especially for tunnelling under the capital city. The 1000 tonne machine is now in the concluding part of her journey, where she will weave her way between existing underground lines, sewers and utility tunnels to complete the 1.5km tunnel between North Woolwich and East Plumstead.
"Every penny will be invested in tackling homelessness and helping young people acquire the skills to find a job." Charmaine Young CBE, Chief Executive, Berkeley Foundation
The drilling of this section of the tunnel is significant not only for the £19,000 it has raised but also for Crossrail's long awaited arrival in Woolwich. It is the result of an 11 year public-private collaboration between Berkeley, the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Greater London Authority and Transport for London. It will transform journey times for local people, connecting commuters to Bond Street in just 20 minutes from 2018.