Dorothy, a 125-metre-long boring machine weighing 2,000 tonnes, is drilling into the countryside in Europe’s largest infrastructure project to date. Ten borers – named after Britain’s most famous scientists and engineers – will dig a 64-mile tunnel for a project connecting London with the Midlands.
Dorothy is named after Dorothy Hodgkin, who in 1964 became the first British woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The Giant Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) completed its one-mile excavation under Long Echington Wood in Warwickshire.
It began its journey at the north portal of the tunnel last December and footage shows the moment it broke through the wall of the reception box at the south portal last Friday (22/7).
The tunneling team has been working round the clock in shifts for seven months to operate the TBM, which has installed 790 concrete rings to support the structure.
Mark Thurston, CEO of HS2 Limited, said: “This is a historic moment for the HS2 project.
“At both the portal sites a 400-strong team including tunneling engineers, TBM operators and construction workers has pulled out all the stops to achieve this spectacular milestone.
“This milestone demonstrates the significant momentum behind Britain’s new zero-carbon railway, creating thousands of jobs and apprenticeships, as well as hundreds of opportunities for businesses across the country, fueling our economic recovery.” Is.”
The owners of HS2 claim that the tunnel preserves the ancient woodland above, which is classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
HS2 Minister Trudy Harrison said: “This is a really, really important moment.
“As Dorothy paves the way for travel between Birmingham and London, we continue to strive towards delivering a greener, faster and more direct transport network.”
The machine is removing approximately 250,000 cubic meters of mudstone and soil, which is being transported to the slurry treatment plant via a 254 meter long conveyor belt.
The material is disassembled before being reused on embankments and landscaping along the route.
Over the next four months, Dorothy’s cutterhead and front section would be removed and moved back to the north portal, while the bulk of the machine would be brought back through the tunnel.
It will be reconnected, ready to launch for the second bore of the tunnel.
HS2 is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and aims to connect the northern cities of London and Europe.
HS2 trains will reach a top speed of 250mph connecting Manchester to London in just an hour and was branded a “game changer” by ministers as many services are “full of overflow”.
The plans were passed by Parliament in February 2017, and work on the first phase from London to Birmingham was due to begin in late 2019, but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.