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Tunnelling machines reach milestone in digging HS2 tunnels

Under the Chilterns, two massive 2,000-tonne tunnelling machines have reached their first milestone in digging the HS2 project’s longest tunnels.This is a wonderful milestone and Danny Sullivan Group is proud to be providing labour for the HS2 Project.

The 78m deep ventilation shaft at Chalfont St Peter is the first of five that will provide ventilation and emergency access to the ten-mile-long twin tunnels. TBMs Florence and Cecilia dug a total of over 3.6 miles together.

The TBMs, which began operating in May and June of last year, are expected to reach the north portal in two and a half years.

A crew of 17 people on board each machine, operated by Align – a Bouygues, Sir Robert McAlpine, and VolkerFitzpatrick JV, keeps them running, working in shifts and supported by over 100 people on the surface.

Align Project Director, Daniel Altier, said: “Florence and Cecilia reaching our first shaft at Chalfont St Peter is a great achievement for not only the tunnelling team but also construction team involved in excavating and preparing the shaft.

“In particular I would like to pay credit to KVJV and Keltbray our supply chain partners, who have been working tirelessly over the last few months to ensure the shaft is ready for the arrival of Florence and Cecilia.”

The HS2 project will use ten TBMs to build 64 miles of tunnel between London and the West Midlands, including major tunnels on the approach to London and Birmingham. So far, three machines have been launched.