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HS2 TBM images and naming

IOM3 Content Cafe
28 May 2020
TBM under construction in Germany. Courtesy HS2

The two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will spend around three years digging the longest and deepest HS2 tunnels – from just inside the UK’s M25 to South Heath in Buckinghamshire have made their pictorial debut.

Statistics relating to the machines have also been released –

  • The TBMs are 170m in length
  • Each weighs roughly 2,000t
  • Once started, they will run non-stop for 3.5 years – excepting Christmas and Bank Holidays, until the tunnels are complete
  • The tunnels will go as deep as 80m below ground
  • The TBM cutterhead is 10.26m
  • The internal diameter of the tunnels will be 9.1m
  • The tunnels will be lined with concrete segments that will be 2m x 4m and weigh on average 8.5t each
  • 112,000 of these concrete segments will be required to complete both tunnels.

The machines are being built by Herrenknecht in Germany. After completion the first two machines will be disassembled for the journey to the UK. Once they have arrived on site, each TBM will be reassembled, ready for launch.

The public is being invited to vote for their preferred name for the TBMs from a shortlist of three chosen by local school children and inspired by female scientific and medical pioneers.

The name options are:

Cecilia – named after Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, the Astronomer and Astrophysicist born in Buckinghamshire, UK, who became Chair of Astronomy at Harvard University, USA. 

Florence – after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, who spent many years in Claydon, Buckinghamshire where she wrote numerous books on nursing.

Marie – named after Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice.

Follow this link to vote.