NewsProject Show Case

HS2 TBM Cutterhead Returned to Begin Second Excavation

Dorothy TBM in HS2

After the first tunneling breakthrough on the High Speed 2 program, TBM is being returned to its starting point, getting ready for the second excavation in Warwickshire.

Dorothy TBM was the first on the high-speed rail project to finish its excavation. It completed the 1.6km drive below Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire in July.

Now, the machine’s cutterhead has been disassembled and returned to the tunnel’s north portal.

Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV), High Speed 2 (HS2) contractor’s logistics and plant team planned the move of the 160t, 10m diameter machine part on Wednesday night (21 September).

Standing upright on a 12m long, 48-wheel self-propelled trailer, the cutterhead was moved from the south portal site, through the A425, across the village of Ufton.

The same operation was done for the TBM’s 120t tail skin, also 10m in diameter. The journey which was 4km long, took three hours. Also, the team has transported eight other great pieces from the TBM’s front and middle shields, using specialist equipment.

The rest of the 120m long machine is going to be pulled back via the tunnel by a special “caterpillar” system, at a pace of 150 meters per day.

When all the parts are back at the north portal, the machine is going to be reassembled before beginning the second excavation later this year.

Tom Comer, BBV’s logistics manager argued: “This has been an intricately planned operation, using specialist equipment to transport these large, heavy pieces of machinery safely and carefully, over a 2.5-mile route, and onto our north portal site. The whole team was proud to see the operation culminate in such an impressive sight, as the huge TBM cutterhead completed its short journey.”

He added: “We worked closely with the local authority, Warwickshire Police and British Transport Police, and would like to thank them for helping us ensure a safe operation, carried out at night to minimize disruption to the local community as much as possible.”

Alan Payne, HS2’s senior project manager asserted: “The BBV logistics and site teams have done a great job to make this a safe and successful operation. We’re now looking forward to the reassembly of the TBM over the coming weeks, and the start of the second bore of the tunnel later this year.”

“When we celebrate the breakthrough next summer, this will be the first fully completed twin-bore tunnel on the HS2 project,” continued Payne.

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