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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2013 Vol 3 No 3
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Overview & Update - Page 4 of 5

Contractors World - Tunnelling machine at Crossrail_s Western tunnels site

Tunnelling machine at Crossrail_s Western tunnels site

Thames Tunnel

Two slurry TBMs, Sophia and Mary, are being used to construct the 2.6 km twin Thames Tunnel – with the first, Sophia, starting tunnelling in early January at the Plumstead Portal in east London. Mary is undergoing factory testing this week.

Both machines will travel westwards through a new station at Woolwich and under the Thames to North Woolwich.

Drive distances are:

  • Royal Oak to Farringdon east: 6.8 km;
  • Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon East: 8.3 km;
  • Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green: 2.7 km;
  • Limmo Peninsula to Victoria Dock Portal: 0.9 km (reusing one TBM from the Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green drive)
  • Plumstead to North Woolwich: 2.6 km.

Contractors World - Construction of tunnels beneath Finsbury Circus at Crossrail’s Liverpool Street siteConstruction of tunnels beneath Finsbury Circus at Crossrail’s Liverpool Street site

TBM Specifications and statistics:

  • Diameter of Crossrail tunnels - 6.2 m
  • Cutter head diameter - 7.1 m
  • Typical average progress rate of 100 m a week. Phyllis and Ada have achieved 200 metres a week
  • A total of 84 kilometres of conveyer belts will be used to transport the excavated earth from the TBM cutterheads to the tunnel entrances
  • On board welfare facilities include toilets and a kitchen
  • Surface control room will monitor progress in real-time and use GPS
  • Typical average excavation rate of 7,500 tonnes per week
  • Cutter head rotation speed - up to 3.19 rotations per minute
  • Nominal thrust force - approximately 58,000 kN the equivalent force needed to lift 2,900 London taxis
  • Ten hydraulic steering rams near the front of the machine steer the TBM within millimetre precision of its designated alignment
  • The hydraulic steering rams push the machine 1.6 metres forward before they withdraw allowing for a concrete ring to be installed.
  • Each ring is made of eight segments.

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