Tunnelling for HS2 in London is set to begin in earnest this year, with two tunnel boring machines delivered to West Ruislip last month.
These giant 1,900 tonne mechanisms are the first of six that will be sent to the location and be involved in digging 13 miles worth of twin tunnels to be eventually used by the country-spanning high-speed rail service.
Malcolm Codling, Client Director for HS2, said: “The HS2 team at West Ruislip have been preparing the site for over two years to ensure it is ready to launch the first two London TBMs in 2022.
“This will be an exciting step as we begin our four-year programme of tunnelling under London, showcasing the best of British engineering, and building Britain’s newest low carbon transport network.”
The operation of the two machines will be a major logistical challenge with 15 people at each time working throughout the next two years non-stop, only pausing for breaks at Christmas and New Year.
James Richardson, Managing Director of Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture, commented:
” Delivering these huge TBMs to West Ruislip was an enormous logistical challenge involving 260 deliveries, including 110 abnormal loads.
“Our team worked tirelessly to deliver these items efficiently, whilst minimising disruption to our neighbours. All eyes will be on West Ruislip in 2022 as we start to build the London tunnels, reaching depths of 30m below ground.”
Schools in the area will also be asked to find names for the two machines for their launch, a competition which will eventually be decided in a public vote.