First pictures of HS2 railway line’s tunnel boring machines revealed


Revealed: First pictures of two 2,000-tonne boring machines that will dig giant tunnels 260 feet below the ground for the HS2 railway line

  • The 34-feet-long tunnelling machines are currently being assembled in Germany
  • They will be shipped to Britain and commence drilling operations later this year
  • The public can vote on the machine names — either Cecilia, Florence or Marie
  • The HS2 railway will connect London, West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester

The first pictures have been revealed of two of the 2,000-tonne boring machines that will core giant tunnels 260 feet below the ground for the HS2 railway line. 

The machines — which are presently being assembled in Germany — will commence tunnelling for the UK’s high-speed rail project later this year.

In the meantime, the project is letting the public vote on the names to be given to the machines, from a shortlist of three chosen by local school children.

Each honours a woman of science, including astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale and chemist/physicist Marie Curie.

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The first pictures have been revealed of two of the 2,000-tonne boring machines that will core giant tunnels 260 feet below the ground for the HS2 railway line 

HS2 TUNNEL BORING MACHINES: THE STATS

Length: 558 feet

Weight: 2,000 tonnes each

Bore head diameter: 34 feet 

Max. operating depth: 262 feet 

‘The construction of HS2 is set to be an amazing opportunity to showcase global capability and innovation in the design and delivery of major infrastructure,’ said HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston.

‘The Tunnel Boring Machines are one of the most fascinating aspects,’ he added.

‘Like mini cities, they will spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week boring under the Chilterns so that the homes and habitats above remain undisturbed.’

‘This is just one of many ways in which HS2 is delivering on its responsibilities to our neighbours and the natural environment,’ Mr Thurston added.

‘When complete, the new railway will play a key role in reducing transport carbon emissions and improving air quality for the next generation.’

In all, the colossal machines will spend three-and-a-half years underground excavating the longest and deepest-running tunnels for the HS2 project.

These will stretch from just inside the M25 to South Heath in Buckinghamshire.

'The Tunnel Boring Machines are one of the most fascinating aspects [of the project],' said HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston. 'Like mini cities, they will spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week boring under the Chilterns so that the homes and habitats above remain undisturbed'

‘The Tunnel Boring Machines are one of the most fascinating aspects [of the project],’ said HS2 Ltd chief executive Mark Thurston. ‘Like mini cities, they will spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week boring under the Chilterns so that the homes and habitats above remain undisturbed’

The tunnel boring machines, one of which is pictured, are being manufactured by the German construction equipment firm Herrenknecht. When the first two borers have been completed, they will be disassembled and shipped to Britain for reassembly and activation

The tunnel boring machines, one of which is pictured, are being manufactured by the German construction equipment firm Herrenknecht. When the first two borers have been completed, they will be disassembled and shipped to Britain for reassembly and activation

The tunnel boring machines are being manufactured by the German construction equipment firm Herrenknecht.

When the first two borers have been completed, they will be disassembled and shipped to Britain for reassembly and activation. 

The machines will operate nearly continuously until the tunnels are complete — with the sole exception of Bank Holidays and Christmas, when they will be paused.

When the tunnels are completed, they will be lined with over 112,000 concrete segments, leaving a 30 foot diameter tunnel in which they trains will travel.

The HS2 railway will connect London, West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester

The HS2 railway will connect London, West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester

HS2 WILL LINK LONDON, THE WEST MIDLANDS, LEEDS AND MANCHESTER

HS2 (High Speed 2) is a plan to construct a a new high-speed rail linking London, West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester.

The line is to be built in a ‘Y’ configuration.  London will be on the bottom of the ‘Y’, Birmingham at the centre, Leeds at the top right and Manchester at the top left. 

Work on Phase One began in 2017 and the government plans envisage the line being operational by 2026. 

The HS2 project is being developed by High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd. 

The project has a projected cost of £56 billion ($77 billion), up from the initial cost of £32.7 billion ($45 billion) in 2010. 

Last year’s annual report showed that the company established by the government to build the railway spent £500 million in the year to March 31 – up almost 30 per cent from £352.9 million the year before.

It takes the total amount spent by HS2 so far to more than £1.9billion since 2009.

Separate accounts published by the Department for Transport also showed it had spent another £366 million on HS2.

The bulk of this was on compensating individuals and businesses who own property and land near the planned line.

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