As the New Year approaches and the TBMs (Tunnel Boring Machines) already arrive in the UK, the HS2 project will be soon under way. Herrenknecht has made TBMs in southwest Germany.
The parts of the TBMs reach in 300 separate shipments over the course of two months, weighing at 2,000 tonnes and 170 metres long. The parts received are now at the Chiltern tunnel southern portal site in west London.
The TBMs are ready to be reassembled, tested and commissioned. With the names Florence and Cecilia, the two TBMs will be digging the two bores of the 10-mile-long Chiltern tunnel. This is the longest tunnel on the HS2 project and the first to start construction.
It is expected to take three years to complete their journeys through the mix of chalk and flint. The TBMs will work to progress at an average of 15 metres a day. They will be operated by a JV of Sir Robert McAlpine, Bouygues Travaux Publics, and VolkerFitzpatrick with HS2 central section contractor, Align.
A crew of 17 people will operate each TBM. They would be working in shifts to keep the machines running 24/7. Each tunnel will require 56,000 segments which will all be made on site. The works will be supported by over 100 people on the surface, managing the logistics.