Sixth and Seventh Tunnel Boring Machine for Crossrail on their Way to London

The sixth and seventh tunnel boring machine (TBM) for the Crossrail project have been finally accepted by the customer at Herrenknecht in Schwanau and are now ready to start their journey to London. Herrenknecht is providing all eight machines for the extension of the new Crossrail line running through the middle of Britain's capital.

Schwanau, Germany, February 21, 2013. The two machines are now being dismantled, boxed up and transported to Rotterdam, where they will be put on a ferry to Tilbury in Essex. From there they will travel as heavy load transport to the London jobsite.


TBM6, named Mary, will drill a tunnel under the Thames from Plumstead to North Woolwich alongside her sister machine Sophia, who commenced tunnelling in January. As a Mixshield, Mary is especially equipped to drive through the chalk, flint and wet ground conditions that she will encounter in southeast London.


TBM7 will be used on the drive from Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney Green, which will start in the summer. This is an Earth Pressure Balance Shield especially designed for the London clay found north of the Thames. All the machines' components are expected to arrive at the Crossrail jobsite in March where they will be reassembled.


Andy Mitchell, Crossrail Programme Director said: "Over 4km of tunnel have now been constructed on Crossrail. With tunnelling now well underway we are looking forward to welcoming our sixth and seventh tunnel boring machine to the project. Once we've unpacked and reassembled them, they'll begin drilling yet more tunnels underneath the streets of the capital."


Crossrail's final tunnel boring machine, TBM8, will complete factory testing this summer. Herrenknecht has supplied all eight machines to Crossrail.

About TBM7 and TBM8

The naming arrangements for TBM7 and TBM8 will be advised at a later date. Mary is named after the wife of the famous railway engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Mary weighs 1,000 tonnes and is 110 meters long.TBM7 is 150 meters long. Each tunnel boring machine has 20-strong ‘tunnel gangs’ working in shifts - 12 on the tunnelling machine itself and 8 working between the rear of the machine to the tunnel entrance. The diameter of their cutterhead is 7.1meters. Once tunnelling is fully up and running, according to Crossrail, the TBMs are scheduled to progress at an average rate of around 100 meters every week.

About Crossrail

The total funding envelope available to deliver Crossrail is £14.8bn.

The Crossrail route will pass through 37 stations and run 118 km (73 miles) from Maidenhead to Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21km (13 miles) long tunnels below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.


When Crossrail opens it will increase London's rail-based transport network capacity by 10%, supporting regeneration of the network and cutting journey times across the city. Crossrail services are due to commence through central London in 2018.


Crossrail is being delivered by Crossrail Limited (CRL). CRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London. Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.


Herrenknecht is providing all eight machines (6x EPB, 2 x Mixshield) for the extension of the new Crossrail line running through the middle of Britain's capital to the customers: Hochtief Solutions AG, Dragados S.A., John Sisk & Son Ltd., BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman S.A., Kier Construction Ltd.

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