Crossrail workers have celebrated a full year of tunnelling by dedicating a birthday cake to one of their boring machines, Phyllis.

The faithful mechanical tunneller has constructed more than 4km of tunnel, starting at Royal Oak in west London and will finish her journey at Farringdon later this year.

The project is about much more than just building a vast new transport network as a number of grisly finds prove.

The UK's biggest archeology excavation is working alongside the tunnellers and has already uncovered fascinating glimpses of London's past including a black death burial pit at Farringdon.

crossrail cake

Workers pose with the cake on top of Phyllis

Some more Crossrail facts:

  • Eight new underground stations at Paddington, Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Farringdon, Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf and Woolwich will be built
  • A new surface station will also be constructed at Custom House
  • Crossrail will increase the capacity of London’s rail based public transport network by 10 per cent

  • An estimated 200 million people will travel on Crossrail each year
  • Phyllis (one of the TBMs) is currently under Hyde Park having completed 2.9km of tunnel and is now heading for Crossrail’s Bond Street Station western ticket hall in Davies Street
  • At least two-thirds of all Crossrail excavated material, more than 4.5m tonnes, will be used to create the new RSPB nature reserve at Wallasea Island, creating Europe’s largest man-made coastal reserve

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  • Connaught Tunnels

  • Pudding Mill Lane tunnel portal

  • Stepney Green Shaft

  • Tottenham Court Road Station

  • Wallasea Island new nature reserve

  • Whitechapel new station

  • Plumstead Portal

  • Canary Wharf

  • Finsbury Circus

  • Paddington

  • O2 Arena

  • Crossrail Tunnel Boring Machine - cutterhead being installed at Westbourne Park_ 31 January 2012

  • Crossrail Tunnel Boring Machine - cutterhead being installed at Westbourne Park_ 31 January 2012

  • BBMV Crossrail C510 Finsbury Circus Grout Shaft

  • TBM Phyllis

  • Westbourne Park August 2012

  • TBM Elizabeth lowered into main shaft 25 October 2012

  • TBM Victoria lowered into Limmo Shaft 27 October 2012

  • TBM Victoria lowered into Limmo Shaft 27 October 2012

  • Western tunnels October 2012

  • Western tunnels November 2012

  • Limmo December 2012

  • Sprayed Concrete Lining at Hanover Square site Bond Street Crossrail station

  • Stepney Green shaft tunnelling 1

  • Stepney Green shaft tunnelling 3

  • Stepney Green Shaft tunnelling works 2

  • Tottenham Court Road Dean Street Crossrail ticket hall

  • Tottenham Court Road Dean Street Crossrail ticket hall 2

  • Tunnelling at Hanover Square site Bond Street Crossrail station

  • Tunnelling machine in Crossrail eastern tunnels

  • Tunnelling machine Phyllis Crossrail western tunnels

  • Tunnelling works below Finsbury Circus Liverpool Street Crossrail station