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London

Tunnelling to start in less than 100 days

Europe’s largest constructon project has unveiled the frst of eight, 1,000 tonne tunnel boring machines (TBM) that will construct the new Crossrail tunnels under central London.

The 140 metre long, fully assembled tunnel boring machine (TBM) is currently undergoing factory testing. The machine will shortly be dismantled and shipped to London where it will be re-assembled at Westbourne Park ahead of tunnelling commencing from Royal Oak in March.

To construct the 21 km of twin-bore tunnel required for Crossrail, eight tunnel boring machines will be required and will undertake ten individual tunnel drives to construct the 6.2 m diameter tunnels. At 140 metres, each TBM would ft just inside the boundaries of a cricket oval.

The TBMs will bore the tunnelled secton of the 118 kilometre rail line that will link Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west with Shenfeld and Abbey Wood in the east. When completed, Crossrail will bring an extra 1.5 million people within 45 minutes journey of London and reduce cross London journey tmes. The TBMs wi l l run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week stopping only for scheduled maintenance.

As the TBMs advance forward, precast concrete segments will be built in rings behind the TBMs. Constructon of the concrete segment factory for the western running tunnels between Royal Oak and Farringdon is now complete at Old Oak Common. The plant will begin manufacturing over 70,000 segments for the western tunnels from January.

Chris Dulake, Crossrail’s Chief Engineer said: “Crossrail tunnelling will get underway in March 2012 when the frst of eight tunnel boring machines will begin burrowing below the streets of London. Work is contnuing across the Crossrail route to prepare for construction of the major new rail tunnels. The new Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy has welcomed its first students and will train at least 3,500 people with the skills required to work below ground while the frst of the tunnel segment manufacturing plants will shortly commence full operatons.”

The eight Crossrail TBMs are being manufactured by Herrenknecht AG, Germany who also manufactured tunnel boring machines for the Jubilee Line Extension and the Docklands’ Light Railway (DLR) Extension to Bank.

Following the launch of the frst TBM in March 2012, a second TBM will be launched from Royal Oak a few weeks later. The remaining TBMs will be launched from Limmo Peninsula in the Royal Docks heading towards Farringdon in late 2012; from Pudding Mill Lane and Plumstead in 2013 and from Limmo Peninsula to Victoria Dock in 2014. [CWMAGS]

Page 6 Contractors World - UK & Ireland Vol 2 No 1

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