Engineers assemble HS2 TBM 'Lydia' at Atlas Road, London, via HS2

HS2 launches third tunnelling machine for further digging under London

Following the success of the tunnelling works towards the ongoing Chiltern tunnel project, HS2 has launched the third of its giant Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) to begin further tunnelling underneath the capital.

This tunnel is not for use of HS2 trains, instead being utilised for the delivery of materials and the removal of spoil from the northern portal where HS2’s Euston twin bored Tunnel will be constructed.

The 847-tonne machine has been launched from the Atlas Road site in North Acton, where it will be responsible for the delivery of an 853-metre tunnel to the Old Oak Common Station site. This tunnel drive is currently expected to be completed in approximately six months, seeing the tunnel constructed with 4,264 concrete segments that will form a total of 533 tunnel rings, with each segment weighing in over three tonnes and being provided by a Kent based SME from HS2’s wider supply chain.

Upon completion of the project, this tunnel will then be used for the transportation of 8,010 tunnel segment rings to construct the Euston tunnel, removing the need for any road vehicular material transportation, representing continuity for the organisation’s ambitious commitment to sustainable construction.

The clay that is excavated throughout the construction of the Euston Tunnel will be transported to Euston Tunnel to HS2 London Logistics Hub at Willesden Euro Terminal via an innovative conveyor system that will run through the logistics tunnel, connecting an existing conveyor at Atlas Road. The spoil will then be taken by train for re-use at sites in Kent, Cambridgeshire and Rugby.

Malcolm Codling, HS2’s Project Client for the London Tunnels, said:

“The Atlas Road Logistics Tunnel is key to how we will be constructing the Euston Tunnel between Old Oak Common and HS2’s Euston station. The logistics tunnel allows us to take 70,000 lorry journeys off the local roads that would otherwise have been required and will reduce the impact of HS2’s construction on the local community.

In-keeping with the tradition of naming TBMs after women, members of the local community have selected the name ‘Lydia’ for the TBM, in homage to the former Old Oak Common Primary School teacher and founding member of the Bubble & Squeak social enterprise in the area, Lydia Gandaa. TBM Lydia has been repurposed using components from a previous TBM, ‘Ellie’, which was previously used on the Crossrail project.

Speaking about having the TBM named after her, Lydia said:

"I'm delighted to have been invited to come down to the HS2 site and am honoured see the TBM that has been named after me. I am passionate about the local community and thank them for choosing my name for the TBM."

TBM Lydia was officially launched following a naming and blessing ceremony at the Atlas Road site, with the real Lydia in attendance, alongside pupils from Old Oak Primary School.

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