Skanska UK plc

04/08/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/08/2024 06:46

New tunnelling machine joins three others digging high-speed line under London

New tunnelling machine joins three others digging high-speed line under London

Press release08/04/2024 13:41 CET

Skanska Costain STRABAG tunnelling activity on HS2 reaches peak with nearly 50% of bored tunnelling complete between London and the West Midlands

Construction of the new HS2 line has hit another major milestone with the launch of the fourth - and final - machine being used to build the giant Northolt Tunnel beneath the capital. Watch the video here

The 8.4-mile tunnel, being constructed by our Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture, will run from Victoria Road in Ealing to West Ruislip in Hillingdon - carrying trains in and out of London.

In keeping with tunnelling tradition, the fourth machine is named after a prominent woman - Lady Anne Byron. The name was chosen by the local community around Ealing through a public vote.

Lady Anne Byron was an educational reformer and philanthropist who lived between 1792 and 1860. She established the Ealing Grove School in 1834 - England's first co-operative school which provided education for the working classes, in an era when it was mainly for the wealthy.

TBM Anne will bore 3.4 miles from Victoria Road in Ealing, near HS2's Old Oak Common station, to Greenpark Way in Greenford, alongside TBM Emily which launched in February.

The other five miles of twin-bored tunnels has been under construction since 2022, with TBMs Sushila and Caroline both over halfway through their journey between West Ruislip, on the outskirts of London, and Greenpark Way. The quartet of TBMs are all set to complete their journeys in 2025, when they will be extracted from the ground through giant shafts at Greenpark Way.

James Richardson, Managing Director for Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture, said: "The launch of TBM Anne is a milestone moment in this year of peak activity for the HS2 London Tunnels project. With a quartet of TBMs and over 20 construction sites all making significant progress, we are on course to deliver the high-speed line into central London, creating economic growth and opportunities at every step of the way."

The TBM was manufactured by world-leading experts Herrenknecht in Germany. It is one of 10 machines specially designed for HS2 and the ground through which they will bore. Two remaining TBMs, which will eventually be used to dig HS2's final tunnel between Old Oak Common and Euston, in central London, are still being built.

SCS JV worked collaboratively with Herrenknecht on a cutting edge design that maximises productivity and achieves the highest standards in a tunnelling environment.

The TBM weighs 1,700 tonnes and is 170m in length. The cutterhead is 9.11m in diameter.

TBM Anne was lowered in parts into the 25m deep crossover box at the end of last year, where she was reconstructed and prepared for launch.

Malcolm Codling, HS2's Project Client Director for the London Tunnels, said: "HS2 has reached peak tunnelling activity as we focus on delivering the HS2 route between London and Birmingham. The launch of Anne is the culmination of many years of work for the London Tunnels team and a further triumph in British engineering."

The two final TBMs will construct the Euston Tunnels, taking HS2 trains into central London. They are set to be delivered to the UK later this year and lowered into the underground station box at Old Oak Common ready for launch.

Following the government's Network North announcement in October, alternative funding arrangements for the delivery of Euston station are being considered. However, work is continuing with the preparations and design of the railway between Old Oak Common and Euston.