Second HS2 TBM launched in London

HS2 railway through London HS2 Ltd has launched the fifth TBM ‘Caroline’ on October 27 to construct the tunnels for the HS2 railway through London. The second launched in the British capital, the 2,000 tonnes machine joins ‘Sushila’, that was switched on earlier this month on the same West London site.

The Tunnel Boring Machine will now dig for 22 months, non-stop except for Christmas Day, towards Greenpark way in Greenford, boring 8 km of the twin-bore Northolt Tunnel.

‘Caroline’ will be operated by a crew of 15 people, working in shifts. An additional 25 people will directly support each tunnel drive on the surface.

Travelling at an average of 14m per day, ‘Caroline’ will dig the tunnel and install 4,207 tunnel segment rings to create the tunnel. Each ring of the tunnel is made up of seven concrete segments which have been manufactured in the UK by Pacadar based in Kent.

“HS2’s construction continues to gather pace, and the launch of the fifth Tunnel Boring Machine on HS2 is another significant moment for Britain’s number one levelling-up project,” HS2’s Civils Delivery Director, Mike Lyons, said.

TBM ‘Caroline’ will be operated by Skanska Costain Strabag JV (SCS JV), HS2’s main works civils contractor constructing the HS2 tunnels in London.  She joins ‘Sushila’ who has already travelled over 70m in the three weeks since launch.

Once TBMs ‘Caroline’ and ‘Sushila’ reach their destination at Greenpark Way, they will be dismantled and extracted from a 40m deep shaft.

Separately, two other equally massive tunnel boring machines will set off towards Greenpark Way from HS2’s Victoria Road site in 2023 to build a further 5.6 km twin-bore tunnel. Combined, the quartet of TBMs will build 13.7 km of twin bored tunnels between West Ruislip and the new high speed rail super hub station at Old Oak Common.

The HS2 railway through London to West Midlands is part of the high-speed rail route which will have 103 km of tunnel:

7.2 km Euston tunnel (linking Euston and Old Oak Common stations)

13.5 km Northolt tunnel (under London that will take passengers from Old Oak Common to West Ruislip)

16 km Chiltern tunnel – the longest and deepest (90 metres) tunnel

1.6 km Long Itchington Wood tunnel in Warwickshire

5.6 km Bromford Tunnel situated outside Birmingham.

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