Colossal TBM Cutterhead Takes a Drive

This colossal Cutterhead Dorothy duly completed the first of 2 tunnel drives in July on the Long Itchington Wood Tunnel, cutting through at the south portal site.

Now the massive TBM cutterhead has been broken down so that it can be transported 2.5km on a 48 wheel Self Propelled Trailer to the tunnels north portal site. Once there it will start its second drive.

The TBM has a 120t tail skin was also had to be moved by contractors over a 3 hour period in the same operation.

8 other parts which were dismantled include the TBM’s front and middle shields.  Both of which had to be transported by specialist carrying equipment to avoid any temporary road alterations.

A special caterpillar system will pull back the 120m long TBM through a one-mile tunnel at an approximate pace of 150m per day. The TBM will be reassembled once all the parts are back at the north portal and boring will then start again later this year.

Alan Payne, HS2’s senior project manager said: “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.”