HS2 completes major lifts of giant tunnelling machine

HS2 has completed a set of major lifts of tunnel boring machine (TBM) components at its Victoria Road Crossover Box site, in Ealing, West London.

The final major lift, of the middle shield of the TBM named Anne, was completed on November 17 under the lights of the Wembley Stadium arch.

Striking images show the 336 tonne component being lifted using a 750 tonne crane into the caterpillar shaped crossover box.

The TBMs will be used to dig the eastern half of the Northolt Tunnel – which will ultimately be used to take the new high-speed line between Old Oak Common station and outer London. 

They will complete a 3.4-mile stretch of the tunnel from Victoria Road to Greenford, beginning their journeys in the new year.

In October HS2 unveiled the names of the next pair of TBMs that will construct the high-speed rail line under the capital. 

Following a public vote, the names Emily and Anne have been chosen, named after local female icons from history.

Emily is named after Emily Sophia Taylor who lived between 1872 and 1956.

She was a midwife who provided services for women who could not afford maternity care. She helped establish the Perivale Maternity Hospital in 1937 before becoming Ealing’s first female mayor in 1938.

TBM Anne is named after Lady Anne Byron, an educational reformer and philanthropist who lived between 1792 and 1860. 

She established the Ealing Grove School in 1834 – England’s first co-operative school which provided education for the working classes, in an era when it was mainly for the wealthy.

Click here to watch a video of the lifting work.

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