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Tunnel

segment plant begins full operations and creates jobs for

unemployed

By Krista Elefheriou

New factory becomes fully operational

producing the first of 250,000 concrete segments to line the Crossrail tunnels

A new tunnel segment manufacturing facility has begun full operatons in west London, pouring the frst batch of 250,000 concrete segments that will line 42 km (26 miles) of Crossrail tunnels.

Located at Old Oak Common, the facility will employ about 60 people at its peak, including the frst of 15 trainees and apprentces, some of whom have been unemployed for up to 12 months.

They are among the frst group of apprentces and trainees to receive training at the new Tunnelling and Underground Constructon Academy (TUCA) – a facility that will not only train up to 3,500 people to work on Crossrail, but will also contnue to operate well beyond the Crossrail project and help the UK become a world leader in tunnelling constructon. As part of Natonal Apprentceship Week, the Prime Minister David Cameron and Skills Ministers John Hayes yesterday visited TUCA and met several apprentces.

The segment producton has begun ahead of the start of Crossrail tunnelling next month, with the frst tunnel boring machine (TBM) currently being assembled at Westbourne Park. The concrete segments will be loaded onto the 1,000 tonne mobile underground factory. As the 140 metre long machine advances forward the precast concrete segments will be formed into rings to line the tunnels behind the TBM cuter head.

Joint venture contractors, BAM Ferrovial Kier (BFK), will manufacture more than 75,000 tunnel segments at the Old Oak Common site to be used in the 6.4 kilometre (4 mile) twin tunnels running between Royal Oak in west London and Farringdon. Constructon of the segment factory for the eastern running tunnels between Farringdon and Docklands is currently underway at Chatham in Kent and scheduled for completon in late April.

Crossrail’s Western Tunnels Project Manager Andy Alder said: “Preparations are well underway for the start of Crossrail tunnelling next month. Ahead of that, we are stockpiling tunnel segments and have begun pouring the frst batches of more than 250,000 concrete segments that will be made to line 42 kilometres of Crossrail tunnels. The new factory at Old Oak Common is a good example of Crossrail delivering new employment opportunites for unemployed

people. These trainees and apprentices will gain new skills that provide the opportunity for a long-term career in the constructon industry.”

At least 400 apprentceships will be created over the life of the Crossrail project. More than 70 apprentces have already started work.

The trainees and apprentces at the concrete segment factory have received pre-apprenticeship training at TUCA in abrasive wheels, manual handling, site logistics and pre-cast concrete manufacturing, and passed their CSCS Health and Safety tests. Among the trainees is Nara Pina, 21, from Goodmayes, who says afer being unemployed she is hopeful her traineeship will set her up for a career in civil engineering: “2011 was a hard year. But everything came together in the end. I was accepted into college studying civil engineering and started this job as a

Page 16 Contractors World - UK & Ireland Vol 2 No 2

Page 16 - cwuk-2-2

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