Video shows massive machine tunnel for UK’s high-speed rail project

Fascinating footage shows a huge tunnel boring machine called Dorothy digging under ancient forest as the UK’s HS2 high-speed train project moves into full gear.

Dorothy, the 410-foot-long, 2,000-tonne rig, is drilling beneath the countryside as part of Europe’s largest infrastructure project ever.

Ten drillers – named after Britain’s most famous scientists and engineers – will dig 64 miles of tunnel for the project, linking London to the Midlands.

A huge tunnel boring machine called Dorothy digs under old growth forest in the UK as the HS2 rail project moves forward at full speed on July 22, 2022. HS2 is the largest infrastructure project in Europe and will link cities in the north with London and Europe.
HS2, SWNS/Zenger

Dorothy is named after Dorothy Hodgkin, who in 1964 became the first British woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

The massive Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) has completed its one-mile excavation under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire.

He began his journey at the north portal of the tunnel last December and footage shows the moment he broke through the inbox wall at the south portal on Friday.

The tunneling crew worked around the clock in shifts for seven months to operate the tunnel boring machine, which placed 790 concrete rings to support the structure.

CEO Mark Thurston of HS2 Limited said: “This is a historic moment for the HS2 project.

“The team of 400 people, including TBM engineers, TBM operators and construction workers at both portal sites, pulled out all the stops to achieve this fantastic milestone.

“This milestone demonstrates the significant momentum behind Britain’s new zero-carbon railway, creating thousands of jobs and apprenticeships, and hundreds of opportunities for businesses across the country, helping to fuel our recovery. economic.”

HS2 bosses say the tunnel preserves the ancient forest above, which is listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Dorothy tunnel boring machine in the UK for HS2
Inside view of the tunnel being dug with a huge machine called Dorothy, under an ancient forest in the UK as the HS2 rail project moved forward on July 22, 2022. HS2 is the largest infrastructure project in Europe and will link towns in the north with London and Europe.
HS2, SWNS/Zenger

HS2 Minister Trudy Harrison said: “This is, quite literally, a groundbreaking moment.

“As Dorothy paves the way for journeys between Birmingham and London, we continue to strive to provide a greener, faster and more direct transport network.”

The machine removes approximately 274,000 cubic meters of mudstone and soil, which is transported to a sludge treatment plant via an 833-foot-long conveyor belt.

Materials are sorted before being reused on embankments and landscaping along the route.

Over the next four months, Dorothy’s cutter head and front end will be dismantled and moved to the north portal, while most of the machine will be brought back through the tunnel.

It will be reassembled, ready to be launched for the second drilling of the tunnel.

HS2 is the largest infrastructure project in Europe and aims to connect northern cities to London and Europe.

The HS2 trains will reach a top speed of 250 miles per hour, linking Manchester with London in just over an hour and have been branded a ‘game changer’ by ministers as many services are ‘full to overflowing’.

The plans were passed by Parliament in February 2017 and work on the first phase, from London to Birmingham, was due to start in late 2019 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Produced in collaboration with SWNS.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

Jose P. Rogers