Digging to Start on Crossrail Project 9 Jan 2012
In March, the first of eight of these giant machines will start burrowing under central London to carve out the tunnels for Crossrail, Europe’s biggest civil engineering project. Crossrail will link areas east and west of London on 118km (73 miles) of rail track.
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The route will descend down to 40m (130ft) under London through 21km of twin tunnels.
They will take two years to dig, but the preparation work is well under way.
The TBMs (Tunnel Boring Machines) were built in Schwanau, Germany, by Herrenknecht.
Testing has now been completed and the first is being shipped to the UK in pieces for re-assembly at the tunnel entrance site at Royal Oak in west London.
When the TBMs start work, they will operate 24 hours a day, grinding through the London clay at a rate of 100m a week.
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The six million tonnes of earth they will remove will be transported to Wallasea Island in Essex, where they will be used to create a new nature reserve.
The first section of the new railway running under London is due to open in six years.
If you enjoy the peace and the calm of the river in wintertime, you should make sure you enjoy it for the next couple of months because after that, things will be different…
When you click on ‘TBMs to start soon’ under External Links, you connect to the BBC website. Click on the video link to see the TBM in action.