In pictures: the massive 24-hour-a-day construction project to provide huge boost for London's harassed commuters

More than five miles already built of Crossrail's 26 miles of tunnels

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Crossrail says its workers are making good progress on building 26 miles (42km) of tunnels beneath the capital.

Five huge tunnelling machines are now working in west, east and southeast London with 5½ miles (9km) of tunnels now built. 

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Tunneling is also well underway beneath central London station sites using mining techniques involving sprayed concrete to create a further 7.5 miles (12km) of platform tunnels and cross passages.

When Crossrail opens in 2018, it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10 per cent and dramatically cut journey times across the city. Through the new transport links and significant over-station developments being delivered, Crossrail will support regeneration across the capital with economic forecasts suggesting the project will add up to £42 billion to the UK economy.

Work continues around the clock:

* Crossrail’s tunneling machine Sophia which has already created half a mile of new tunnel from Plumstead and will reach the Woolwich station box later this Spring

* Refurbishment works are well underway at the 135-year-old Connaught Tunnel under the Royal Docks which will be brought back into use for Crossrail.

* The two huge eastern tunneling machines, Elizabeth and Victoria, will break through into Canary Wharf station box .

* Work is progressing at the 34.5 metres deep Stepney Green shaft, one of Europe’s largest underground caverns, where the two eastern tunneling machines will pass through the shaft later this year.

* Crossrail’s lead tunneling machine Phyllis has passed through the new Bond Street station having completed over 2 miles (3.5km) of new tunnels.

* Sister tunneling machine Ada has also now completed nearly two miles (3km) of tunnels and western both tunnelling machines will complete their journey at Farringdon by the end of the year.

* Sprayed Concrete Lining tunneling works continuing beneath four central London station sites (Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Liverpool Street and Whitechapel).

* Crossrail’s sixth and seventh tunnel boring machines will be launched later this year to begin further tunneling work in Plumstead and Pudding Mill Lane.