HS2 ltd has revealed the initial images of its first two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) set to launch on the project later this year
The Tunnel Boring Machines are 170m in length, and each one weighs roughly 2,000 tonnes.
When they start, they will run non-stop for 3.5 years and the tunnels will go as deep as 80m below the ground.
The public is being invited to vote for their favourite name for the Tunnel Boring Machines from a shortlist of three chosen by local school children and inspired by female scientific and medical pioneers.
The names are:
Cecilia – named after Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, the astronomer and astrophysicist born in Buckinghamshire who became chair of astronomy at Harvard University in the United States.
Florence – named 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.
Innovation in design
Mark Thurston, chief executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “The construction of HS2 is set to be an amazing opportunity to showcase global capability and innovation in the design and delivery of major infrastructure, and the Tunnel Boring Machines are one of the most fascinating aspects.
“Like mini cities, they will spend 24 hours a day, seven days a week boring under the Chilterns so that the homes and habitats above remain undisturbed.
“This is just one of many ways in which HS2 is delivering on its responsibilities to our neighbours and the natural environment and, when complete, the new railway will play a key role in reducing transport carbon emissions and improving air quality for the next generation.”
The Tunnel Boring Machines are being built by Herrenknecht in Germany. Their names are being chosen now so they can be added to the machines during their manufacture, ready for when they emerge out of the factory.
The first two machines will be disassembled before beginning their journey to Britain. Once they have arrived on site, each TBM will be reassembled, ready for launch.