HS2 Unveils Tunnel Boring Machine to Dig Bromford Tunnel in the West Midlands

HS2 Ltd has released the first images of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will dig HS2’s Bromford Tunnel between Water Orton in North Warwickshire and Washwood Heath in Birmingham.

The TBM has been named ‘Mary Ann’ after Victorian writer, Mary Ann Evans, who was better known by her pen name, George Eliot.

The TBM’s journey to bore a 3.5-mile tunnel is expected to take around 16 months.

HS2 CEO Mark Thurston and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street with members of the tunnelling team

In total, the TBM will install 20,797 segments to form 2,971 concrete rings within the tunnel. Each segment is two metres wide and 35cm thick, with each completed ring weighing around 49 tonnes.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said:

“This is a milestone moment for HS2 in our region. Now that work is underway on this tunnel, in a few years time it will carry high speed trains into Birmingham.

“It’s a remarkable feat of engineering - a testament to our skills base, industry expertise and workforce talent.”

After final testing, the HS2 TBM will launch from a large underground box structure at the east portal of Bromford Tunnel.

This will be the fourth twin-bore railway tunnel to start construction on the HS2 project.

HS2 Ltd CEO Mark Thurston said:

“It was fantastic to celebrate this big construction milestone on the HS2 project as the Bromford Tunnel TBM gets ready for its journey to build the tunnel into Birmingham. There are nearly 9,000 people in the West Midlands working on HS2, with a 450-strong team working on this particular operation.”

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