HyperTunnel, the English tunnel technology start-up, has been received a contract to work with Network Rail on non-disruptive tunnel construction, enlargement, and repair work. This company has declared that it aims to reimagine conventional tunnel-constructing processes.
HyperTunnel’s suite of repair products and services is going to be trialed for improving and maintaining the UK’s regional railway infrastructure as part of the contract. This comprises approximately 650 tunnels that are at least 120-years-old. Project delivery has begun, with Phase One of two already signed off and completion of a large-scale demonstrator due through the summer.
The Technical Head (Mining and Tunnels) at Network Rail, David Castlo, stated: “Our large portfolio of Victorian tunnels requires increasing levels of work to meet the needs of the railway network. However, we want to reduce the level of disruption to our passengers so we are constantly searching for new approaches to enlarge or repair tunnels that reduce the length of time a tunnel will be closed to trains.”
The English start-up mentioned it is developing “radical new methods” of tunneling. It has the target to transform underground construction by constructing tunnels quicker, with less risk, and in a more environmentally friendly and economical way by using proven technologies from other industries. These contain robotics, digital twins, digital underground surveying, and 3D printing, supported by Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality. The company’s technologies could supply Network Rail with new methods of fixing, repairing, and enlarging tunnels that involve only very minimal tunnel closures.
“Details of our various unique methodologies are still largely under wraps, but they are suitably developed and proven to attract the attention of Network Rail,” stated Patrick Lane-Nott, the Director of Engineering at HyperTunnel.