Crossrail have released another batch of photos related to their current tunnelling operations. Interestingly, these seem to focus more on activites beyond the main tunnel drives than the previous batch. It includes, for example, photos of Sophia – the first of Crossrail’s Slurry TBMs – and both Crossrail’s Thames Tunnel and Cable Tunnels at Liverpool Street.

The pick of these images are included below.

Tunnel Segments at Plumstead

Tunnel Segments at Plumstead

Sophia, one of two Slurry TBMs, at Plumstead

Sophia, one of two Slurry TBMs, at Plumstead

Crossrail's Thames Tunnel

Crossrail’s Thames Tunnel

Digging platform tunnels at Whitechapel

Digging platform tunnels at Whitechapel

A spotlight casting shadows in the platform tunnels at Whitechapel

A spotlight casting shadows in the platform tunnels at Whitechapel

The scale of the platform tunnels at Whitechapel

The scale of the platform tunnels at Whitechapel

Machinery at Stepney

Machinery at Stepney

Working on cable tunnels at Liverpool Street

Working on cable tunnels at Liverpool Street

Working on Liverpool Street station tunnels at Finsbury Circus

Working on Liverpool Street station tunnels at Finsbury Circus

Inside a working TBM, looking back from the cutting head section

Inside a working TBM, looking back from the cutting head section

Maintenance work on a TBM

Maintenance work on a TBM

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There are 61 comments on this article
  1. THC says:

    Wonderfully atmospheric photography and great PR by the Crossrail team. I particularly like the one taken from the inside of the TBM – the alien invasion is already here and tunnelling under us!


  2. Greg Tingey says:

    The contrast between the sheer speed at which the basic tunnels are being built & the total time (gong to be) taken to construct the whole thing – station fitting-out, wiring everything up & then testing it is very sharp & brought out by these phots, which show how far advanced the basic construction has laready gone.

  3. Sleep deprived says:

    It’s worth pointing out a number of the SCL tunnels look like pilots and also that, for these, only the primary lining has been completed. Still an interesting overview.

  4. Pete In USA says:

    Very impressive! Thank You for the photos.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but what’s an SCL tunnel?

  6. Anonymous says:

    never mind that, what on earth (or in it) is a slurry TBM?

  7. Paul says:

    SCL = sprayed concrete lining. Usually station access routes etc. Not concrete segments or steel rings.

  8. Sleep Deprived says:

    As mentioned above, SCL = Sprayed Concrete Lining, sometimes also called “shotcrete”.

    A slurry TBM is a tunnel boring machine which uses bentonite and air at the face. They are typically used in less favourable ground, or where you expect to find less favourable ground. See link for more details:

    Just an aside for Paul above, I believe Crossrail are using SCL for the majority of their tunnels, other than the tunnels excavated by TBM. However, there will be a secondary lining (and a host or architectural finishes and details) before they are opened to the public.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is SCL the same as NATM?

  10. Jeremy says:

    On a more basic note, where is the best place to find out roughly how far the various TBMs have got?

  11. Andy says:

    SCL and NATM tend to get used interchangeably. However, not all SCL tunnels are NATM; strictly speaking NATM is a particular technique that uses SCL.

  12. Pedantic of Purley says:

    On a more basic note, where is the best place to find out roughly how far the various TBMs have got?

    Monthly updates here.

  13. ngh says:

    [As an engineer with virtually no tunnelling experience asking…]
    Thinking longer term i.e. for CR2:
    Would it be cheaper/easier to go for a longer build schedule where most station construction occurs after TBMs have passed through rather than the more usual situation that occurs on CR1 where the platform and station tunnels have been excavated first?
    This would mean less spoil removal from station sites both as the TBMs would remove more and the other spoil could go along the tunnels too.
    This would presumably suit sites which aren’t being completely redeveloped or where access above is very difficult (while keeping the existing rail services running).

    Also what is the maximum sensible length of tunnel bore for a TBM before logistics issues start to become a problem (assuming ventilation, electricity, water and personnel can be accesses from intermediate points i.e. stations or ventilation shafts) so that it is spoil leaving and tunnel segments / grout coming in that are the main issues? i.e. subject to suitable geology start the TBM off south of Wimbledon and keep going all the way to Tottenham Hale (with the Alexandra Palace branch starting with TBMs from there.) or would starting TBMs from Wimbledon and Tottenham Hale and meeting at Euston assuming timing works with HS2 make more sense?

  14. timbeau says:

    I would imagine it would be difficult to build a larger cavity round an existing running tunnel (although it has been done, for example the Channel Tunnel crossover tunnels, or even on a tunnel already carrying trains – for example when Holborn (Central Line) was built).

    The problem is that you would have to line the running tunnel when it is first built to avoid it collapsing, and then break that lining open to widen the tunnel for the platforms. It also means you can’t start fitting out the stations, which is a long job, until the TBM reaches the station’s location – it will be some time yet before the TBMs reach Farringdon.

  15. Josh says:

    That is what’s happening with the Western stations. Paddington and Bond Street platform tunnels are bored and lined. The station construction will break into them soon.

  16. Anonymous says:

    timbeau I’m pretty sure the Channel Tunnel UK crossover was constructed by SCL from the pilot tunnel in advance in advance of the running Tunnel TBMs. I think i remember a picture of the southern TBM being dragged through the completed cavern.

  17. Jerry Lonsdale says:

    Sad Fact of life is some of these impressive TBM’s are sent on a no return mission especially the really long tunnels, TBM’s start at each end of the tunnel and dig until they reach close to the middle, one is then chosen to dig down, Suicide mission so to speak, many tunnels dug through out the globe use this method, last time it was done that way was one being dug in Spain, its more cost and time effective this way

  18. Malcolm says:


    I have heard about this “abandon one of them” scheme when two TBMs meet. I can’t quite understand it. Surely if it’s worth recovering one of the machines – presumably by dragging it back to the tunnel portal – then it’s worth taking the other one out by the same way. Or can they only be dragged forwards? Or do they in fact abandon both of them?

  19. timbeau says:

    I doubt if the TBMs used for Crossrail will be abandoned, as they can end their drives in a station tunnel or other location where they can be dismantled and removed. The problem with long drives like the Channel Tunnel is that there is nowhere to do this. They can’t be dragged backwards through the tunnel they have just dug because once it is lined the tunnel is narrower than the TBM’s cutting end. And they can’t simply be driven until they meet each other head on, because that would leave a short section unlined – you also need to do some fine adjustment for the last few metres to ensure they are lined up properly.
    As much of the “abandoned” TBM is recovered as possible, but the cutting head has to be got out of the way.

    And yes, Anon2031, I do now recall that the Chunnel’s crossover chambers were dug out from the service tunnel.

  20. Sleep Deprived says:

    I think at least one of Crossrails TBMs will be abandoned, can’t remember which one it is. As mentioned above however, this isn’t a great loss as the majority of the working parts get stripped and reused (where possible) and so you mainly lose the cutting head and the ‘skin’. If you made the TBM skin tough enough you could theoretically use it instead of lining but there are issues with that, you still wouldn’t want to have two meet head on as even if you’d already removed the cutting head from one (and aside from a myriad of other problems) lining them up would be interesting.

    It was always thus however, have you ever considered how many old tunnelling shields you go through on an average tube journey? They tend to be buried behind the lining (and so you don’t see them) but they sometimes come to light. If you go to Bank for example you can see one of the original shields for the W&C line in what was a stabling tunnel and is now a pasenger tunnel.

    @ ngh
    A lot comes down to how you undertake maintenance of the cutter head and therefore on the expected/encountered ground conditions. To an extent the skies the limit, especially if you compare tunnelling in London Clay with the Gotthard Base Tunnel ( which was undertaken with 4 TBMs!
    A benefit of having the TBM pass through first is that it has built your pilot tunnel for you. Tbh, this is not uncommon. However I am not sure you would realise the spoil removal via the tunnel benefits you assume. typically the platform and passenger tunnels would still be constructed from the surface and breakthrough into the TBM tunnel would/could only really happen after the platform tunnel excavation had occurred. At best it would occur at the same time as the platform tunnel excavation but you would quite possibly have already had to remove a lot of spoil by that point. It’s an idea but I suspect the added time (and cost associated with land rights and political cost of having disruption with no asset in the near future) would preclude it. I’d be interested to hear what other people think though.

    As I mention above, excavating around the TBM excavated tunnel is fairly standard. It gets slightly trickier when there is a live railway involved but even that has been done (and more recently than the time you mentioned at Holborn).

  21. Sleep Deprived says:

    The sky’s the limit*

    Also, I do realise there are other errors in the post above but that one annoyed me the most.

  22. Malcolm says:

    So for situations like the channel tunnel, it’s two cutting heads which are abandoned? Or one abandoned (by suicide tunnel) and one dismantled (which must therefore be possible, but could be costlier than suicide tunnel)?

  23. mr_jrt says:

    My understanding was that the TBMs are going to be sold back to the manufacturers for refurbishment. A cunning plan to reduce the costs of buying them. The complications come from the suggestions to use them elsewhere…i.e. Bakerloo extensions, etc. Especially as they’d have to sit idle for so long!

  24. John Bull says:

    Worth remembering in a lot of cases the cutterheads are pretty knacked by the time they finish anyway.

    Reusing TBMs is, as other commentors have said, more complex than you might think. One of the easiest ways to spot someone who hasn’t perhaps done enough research as they should on the subject of Crossrail 2, for example, is if they say “oh and if we start just after Crossrail then we can reuse the TBMs.” For one thing you’ve got to get the damn things back out again, and for another they’re going to be pretty beat up by that point.

    What tends to happen with TBMs these days is that, where possible, you dismantle ’em where you can and then work out which bits are still usable, then maybe reassemble them with new parts where necessary.

    In the case of the Crossrail TBMs, Herrenknecht, who built them, do have first-refusal when they’re finished on buying them back. If they do, then they’ll basically do the above – take all the still-working bits, add new bits, reassemble them and then flog them on to someone else who wants to build a tunnel but can’t afford to buy brand new.

    It’s basically a lot like what Dell and Apple do with computers that get returned to them – they don’t talk about it much (because they don’t want to do dent their brand-new sales) but they actually recondition them and sell them at a discounted price (if you hunt around on both the Dell and Apple sites, you can thus often find reconned comps, which are effectively brand new, at a fair discount).

  25. Pedantic of Purley says:

    JB, I think you have got the wrong end of the stick regarding first refusal. Correct me if I am wrong.

    First refusal would put the obligation on Crossrail to offer the TBMs back to Herrenknecht in preference to anyone else. It would put no obligation on Herrenknecht. Such condition would be pretty pointless and unnecessary because who else would be interested in buying them for anything other than scrap?

    I am pretty sure that he agreement would be that that Herrenknecht agree to be willing to buy the TBMs back on completion at a fair price (no doubt the means of determining this would be in the contract). This would place an obligation on Herrenknecht but none on Crossrail would would be free to sell them on, sell them for scrap or bury them.

    The point of such an agreement is partly to prevent Herrenknecht taking advantage of the situation on completion as being the only organisation with an interest in buying them so they could offer a ridiculously small payment knowing that Crossrail have no other potential customers.

    The main reason for such an agreement would be to provide certainty to the customer that there was a resale value of mutual benefit. This would influence them in their tunnelling strategy. Without this certainty they may well decide early on the project just to bury them on completion of the task rather than risk the expense of recovering them for no benefit.

  26. John Bull says:

    You may be right – “first refusal” is how it was described to me by Herrenknecht, but that may be a case of mistranslation!

  27. Pedantic of Purley says:

    Seems to be a standard feature of Herrenknecht contracts. See last paragraph of this.

  28. ngh says:

    Re: sleep deprived 09:14AM, 25th April 2013
    Thanks, I knew it was more normal elsewhere (non UK) on recent projects to TBM through first, but assumed CR1 was slightly different as they wanted the shortest possible build and many of the stations required a complete rebuild. CR2 may be different in places.
    My reason for asking was stations on CR2 route that would then have recently been rebuild such as Victoria and TCR where passive provision for CR2 is there and new development will have taken place above ground after the station works currently in progress. This would presumably mean less station work overall (including less NAM/SCL tunnelling) and a shorter less disruptive station build if the TBM passed through first? (Back of the envelope calculation suggests 2y1month and 2y7months of tunnelling time from between Raynes park and Wimbledon to Vic / TCR respectively).
    Other stations where a complete rebuild might be needed would be done in the same way as many on CR1
    (Seven Sisters, Dalston, Angel etc.)

  29. ngh says:

    RE John Bull 09:40AM, 25th April 2013

    Agree completely that the equipment point. Surely the more critical thing is to maintain a steadish long-term work stream for all those with tunnelling skills so we don’t lose too many of them to other places round the world (and have to train lots more again later!) rather than keeping some 2nd hand TBMs in work?
    In that respect HS2 phase 1 with its continually increasing tunnel content (another 9km of tunnels added north of old oak common recently) should do that as CR1 tunnelling will be virtually complete by early 2015. No chance of starting CR2 till the early 2020s at the earliest (detailed design planning issues…) at which point it could employ many of those involved in HS2 phase 1 tunnelling.

  30. John Bull says:

    Agree completely that the equipment point. Surely the more critical thing is to maintain a steadish long-term work stream for all those with tunnelling skills so we don’t lose too many of them to other places round the world (and have to train lots more again later!) rather than keeping some 2nd hand TBMs in work?


    The UK has a long history of producing top-draw transport and contruction engineers, the problem is that we’re a net exporter of such talent for the very reason you identify – we take a boom-and-bust approach to infrastructure projects. We do something big, then nothing for ages, so our construction industry refocuses and all our top engineers go off and build airports, tunnels and railways in the far east, where there’s a massive demand for their services.

    Crossrail’s real legacy – and yes, the thing that makes it important to keep the infrastructure (and tunnel) work flowing – is that its going to produce both a work force and a corporate contractor force with the tools and experience to do more work of that style.

    So yes, there are critical economies and savings that would come from rolling straight in to Crossrail 2, but actually the TBMs (and other equipment) would be a teeny-tiny part of that. It’s about not losing the experience that we’ve just spent years, and a lot of money, building into British (based if not always directly owned) industry. Put simply, Crossrail didn’t build a tunnelling academy because they wanted to do a few puff pieces about how apprentice-friendly they are. They built it because their skills surveys highlighted that they needed far more people trained in things like, for example, Spraycreting tunnel walls, than the industry could provide. They thus had to shoulder the cost of skilling up a whole chunk of their required workforce.

    Indeed ultimately what’s really most important is that we keep digging something after Crossrail more than that we dig Crossrail 2, its just that the fact that the requisite support infrastructure wouldn’t need to be built if the projects dovetailed is a huge boon to Crossrail 2’s BCR which otherwise, on paper at least, isn’t as instantly overwhelmingly positive to your average politician or paper-owner as it might be.

    I think we posted it years ago now, but there’s a rather nice map that Crossrail themselves put together when they were just getting the Tunnelling Academy up and running which shows just how many potential tunnelling projects there are in London, let alone the UK. HS2 (with its new long tunnels) and Thames Water’s Thames Tunnel are perhapst the most obvious non-Crossrail projects, but there’s a whole lot more as well.

  31. Valentine says:

    I’ve got a feeling right-wing governments won’t be building Crossrail 2 anytime soon if they can help it. Lord Adonis was complaining they keep putting HS2 back. Now they’ve scrapped the Euston rebuild. Crossrail 1 was justifiable from their point of view to help their close connections with the finance industry. But beyond that, stuff like Crossrail 2 is too public service for them, it all be just a mirage. They may talk about a need for it, but will they actually deliver it?

    Is there a tendancy on enthusiast sites like this to play fantasy-railway, all routes and schedules, whilst the politicians only go and pull the reality rug out from under everyones feet?

  32. Anonymous says:

    CR2 will likely be even less funded by central government than CR1 and overall it should cost a bit less (in today’s morning) because there aren’t the number of huge TCR, Bond St, etc rebuilds in zone 1

    I’ve read that Tfl and the crossrail lot are working on presenting a funding package to the government for CR2, which as well as the current methods includes a possible TIF modelled on the NLE, but covering a far larger area. I suspect a 10-year CT levy may also be considered given the fact it got through with little trouble for the Olympics, despite the unpopularity before 2012. That finishes in 2016 I believe.

    Politically, the government could just ‘hide’ the amounts they’re funding. An obvious one would be to lump the tube rebuild and CR2 stations of Euston into HS2, like the works at King’s Cross being absorbed into the CTRL. That’s probably the costliest station since TCR and Victoria would have had work already done. Another option is to increase the work load of Network Rail, maybe having them dealing the stations that link the tunnel and surface sections, such as Wimbledon. All this would reduce the amount transferred to Tfl in the form of a grant, reducing grumbles from the North. Generally though, i suspect London to take a bigger burden on CR2 cost.

  33. Anonymous says:


  34. Malcolm says:

    I tend to agree with Valentine, with the proviso that “right wing governments” means all governments hitherto since 1951. Although Anon-09:13 does offer a ray of hope that funding might be found if it can somehow be hidden from the moneytariat. Except that why should the govt. want to do that? They’ve got their chauffered mercs.

  35. Anonymous says:

    The Crossrail tunnel boring machines are not owned by Crossrail. The machines were bought by the tunnelling contractors.

  36. MiaM says:

    If CR2 would be buildt immedately after CR1 and the decision to do so would had been made before CR1 works started, it might have been possible to run four TBM’s from the CR1 tunnel ends and at the CR1/CR2 interchange station divert the TBM’s to continue onto CR2. Yes, I realise that it would lead to strange “connecting tunnels” at the interchange station but those could be used as gigantig draught reliefs between CR1 and CR2, or they could be sealed up.

    This of course assumes that the TBM’s are useable for building such long tunnels.

  37. JamesC says:

    Photo 5 – this is technical a flood light not a spot light as it has no focusing lenses…

  38. stimarco says:


    TBMs are massive robots hundreds of metres long with thousands of moving parts. They require frequent maintenance and that maintenance increases the more they’re used. They’re not built to last 40 years like an aircraft: nobody makes components _that_ tough. They’ll go through multiple sets of cutting heads during the drive, and there are also different _types_ of TBM system, so a TBM used for one tunnel might not be suitable for another, even if they’re quite close. (For example, the TBMs launched from Plumstead use a Bentonite slurry mixed with air to cope with the geology on that stretch of the line. The TBMs launched from Royal Oak use a very different cutting method suited for the London Clay they’ll encounter. You can’t swap these types around at will: the geology dictates the TBM type used.)

    To divert TBMs from CR1 onto the CR2 route at interchanges is only remotely feasible if said interchanges are designed as cross-platform layouts. If the two lines cross at an angle, at different levels, you’re faced with the problem of the wide turning circles the TBMs have: just to get to the right position could require a curved tunnel nearly a mile long. There’s also a hell of a lot of existing infrastructure under London, and quite a bit of it is to be found around said interchanges (which is often why they are interchanges), so it could easily be (much) longer.

    You also can’t throw a TBM into reverse in order to dig the new tunnel in both directions, so you then need to repeat the process in the opposite direction with another TBM to have it dig the same tunnel, but towards the other end of the line. And then, of course, there’s the small matter of both routes needing a pair of running tunnels.

    So that’s a minimum of four TBMs—and long, unwanted connecting tunnels—to find space for under London. Given the sheer size and scale of a TBM, this just isn’t feasible. It really is quicker to just drag each one to an access shaft, take it apart, and rebuild it in another access shaft for the new line. You’ll be carting away a hell of a lot less spoil too, which reduces the pressure on logistics, which is a major cost in itself.

    Of course, this is assuming that you have exactly the correct types of TBM in the right positions for all this too. Send the wrong TBM down a tunnel and it won’t be able to cut through the ground. A stuck TBM is no fun at all.

    Reusing TBMs may be viable for CR2, but again, would you really want to commit to such a major infrastructure project using second-hand TBMs?

  39. Greg Tingey says:

    NOTHING AT ALL to do with “right-wing” (or “left-wing” for that matter) whatsoever.
    It is, however a hang-over from the 50+ years denigration & attempted closure/run-down of the railways, irrespective of party, in imitation of US “models” … that we are now coming to the end of (I hope).
    Yet again, a read of “Holding the Line” or the letters column of the May edition of Modern Railways will prove educational.

    There really was a giant conspiracy, not just Marples, but creeps like Alfred Sherman and the vile Serpell who were all at it.
    I don’t understand why so-called civil servants like Sepell hated railways, but he did, of that there is no doubt. Sherman & Marples were in it for the corrupt monies, of course.

    Point made in last month’s(?) Modern Railways – we are past peak car use … how long before that finally penetrates the mass-consciousness?
    &/or how long before the incompetents (crooks? – see Sepell above & recent total displays of incompetence, & money-spending as well as stupidity) at DafT are finally shoved out onto the street?

  40. Anonymous says:

    To quote John Bull

    In Pictures: The Crossrail TBMs 15th December 2011

    As it stands, all these TBMs will effectively be life-expired once they have completed their respective drives. Herrenknecht were able to confirm that the current contract contains a buy-back clause allowing them to buy the TBMs back upon completion of the tunnelling. Crossrail have confirmed, however, that there have also been very general, hypothetical discussions about the possibility of reconditioning and reusing the TBMs instead, should Crossrail 2 make it definitively off the drawing board.

  41. Fandroid says:

    The magic word here is ‘reconditioning’. To do that to the necessary standards would require factory conditions. The standards have to be high because of the risks inherent in a serious failure. The costs of recovering from a stuck TBM situation are enormous. Politicians will tell you they are going to ask the manufacturers for a ‘guarantee’, but that’s just naive nonsense, as it depends entirely on the financial strength of the manufacturer, as failures can cost big bucks.

    For a local example, Thames Water had to recover a stuck TBM when it was boring the Merton to Brixton leg of what is now called the Thames Water Ring Main. The failure was due to rather nasty ground conditions that the TBM couldn’t cope with. Their luck was well and truly in, as the failure occurred under Tooting Bec Common*. They had to freeze the ground from works on the surface then dig down through the frozen ground to get at the TBM. Then they had to remove it, build a launch shaft, bring in a new, different type of TBM and backfill the hole and restore the common.

    *( I have always suspected that the nasty conditions underground may have been reflected by the existence of historical common grazing land above, being unsuitable for growing crops.)

  42. mdb says:


    That sounds fascinating, how much surface area of ground did they have to freeze and how did they actually do that? I assume that by freezing the ground they were preventing the chance of the tunnel collapsing?

  43. Anonymous says:

    Vorsprung durch technik

    “They build them well in Germany” [not a translation but a quote from the dialogue of a film about submarines – I can not remember which film]

    I would expect Herrenknecht to recondition to factory build standard.

    Thames Water should have expected problems in Tooting. My father witnessed the rescue when the City and South London Railway extended to Morden and hit a pocket of water bearing gravel.

    I remember Green Park being frozen for the Victoria Underground Railway Line construction when tunneling hit an unknown tributary of the Tyburn.

    For a film of how to freeze the ground to build the Victoria Railway Line at Tottenham Hale see—1967/

    at 11:27

    Happy days – ‘elf and safety – wots that!!! – as unknown as lasers and computers!

    A trip down memory lane (for me) – there are four films kindly made available by Halcrow – they show solutions to some questions asked here – e.g. rebuilding operational underground railways – would ‘elf and safety allow it now?

    Is anyone making similar documentaries about Crossrail, or does the BBC still think railways obsolete and not worth reporting – unless they are being closed to make way for progress.

    If you need to rescue a TBM, having two drives helps – you do not need to rescue from the surface – not an option when Alp Transit Gotthard AG got the west Gabi stuck when it ran into a heat and water decayed pocket of degraded granite.

    The longest TBM crossrail are using is around 160 meters, the norm around 100. If you want to turn a sharp corner, sink an access shaft, re-align and re-launch.

    .. and how do you make a tunnel go round corners when you build it with precast concrete segments?

  44. Slugabed says:

    Vorsprung durch Technik….Progress through technology….was the tagline of a seventies/eighties car commercial (Audi?) English narration by Geoffrey Palmer…

  45. Sleep Deprived says:

    Those films are from British Transport Films and to be honest I am surprised they are letting Halcrow show them without copyright.

    There is a lot of tunnelling work going on in London at the moment, the problem is what happens in a few years. Bank station upgrade will need some people, as will HS2 but after that?

  46. stimarco says:

    @Sleep Deprived:

    They’re corporate videos. Halcrow built chunks of the Victoria Line, so not only would BTF have had to ask them for permission to film on their sites (very likely included as a clause in the contracts), but their own marketing people would have been stupid not to get permission to use them for their own promotional ends.

    The films also work well for training purposes, which is no surprise as the BTF were often involved in that side of the industry.

  47. DW down under says:

    @Slugabed: “Vorsprung durch Technik….Progress through technology….was the tagline of a seventies/eighties car commercial (Audi?)”

    Recycled for VW in more recent times.

  48. Sleep Deprived says:

    @ Stimarco

    Halcrow were the designer for part of the works, not the client nor the contractor, as such they don’t actually have much bargaining power as to whether BTF are allowed on site or not.

    It is far more likely that BTF came on site at the instruction of the client. This is borne out when you watch the videos as there is quite a lot of reference to london transport, very limited reference to some of the contractors (only really when discussing TBMs made by them) and no mention of Halcrow.

    My understanding was that the London Transport Museum now owned these videos (but I could easily be wrong in this regard).

  49. Sleep Deprived says:

    @ DW

    I think Audi still use that motto. VW are starting to use Das Auto (the Car) which is as bland as you can get.

  50. Anonymous says:

    @Sleep Deprived

    “Those films are from British Transport Films and to be honest I am surprised they are letting Halcrow show them without copyright.”

    What makes you think Halcrow haven’t obtained permission from whoever owns the copyright?

  51. Anonymous says:

    A tunnel boring machine (TBM) consists of a shield (a large metal cylinder) and trailing support mechanisms.

    The Victoria Underground Railway tunnels were built using powered and hand dug Greathead Shields – Exposed workface and unsupported tunnel revealed as the shield is pushed forward.

  52. Twopenny Tube says:

    Release of some Victoria Line films under the BTF/BFI banner is imminent.

    Presumably the construction of the Victoria Line will be just a part of the selection. The previous volumes have been notable for their variety.

  53. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @ 09:46AM, 29th April 2013

    The rotary excavator illustrated in the BTF film are to all intents and purposes a TBM – operated by 2 personnel.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Of course, any machine that bores tunnels can be called a tunnel boring machine.

    All you need to do then is decide how you are going to refer to the machines that Herrenknecht manufacture so you do not confuse them with a mechanised Greathead Shield.

    It is a bit like using Microsoft Bing to Google.

    As an illustration of the problems of classification, Punch have a very good cartoon

    (Copyright Punch Limited)

    “Station Master say, Mum, as Cats is ‘Dogs’, and Rabbits is ‘Dogs’, and so’s parrots; but this ‘ere ‘Tortis’ is an insect, so there ain’t no charge for it.

    The apostrophe in so’s indicates the omission of the ‘i’ – not the possessive.

  55. DW down under says:

    @Anon 816

    There would seem to be more than two “levels” of mechanisation:

    1) shield driven by mechanical jacks, excavation using manually driven hand tools (pick, shovel, barrow) = 0
    2) shield driven by hydraulic rams, excavation using manually manipulated power tools (pneumatic picks and shovels, motorised narrow gauge mining railway trucks) = 0.3
    3) shield driven by hydraulic rams, rotary excavators in use, manually operated power diggers to remove spoil = 0.5
    4) shield driven by hydraulic rams, full face rotary excavator, spoil removal by conveyor belt = 0.75
    5) modern TBM = 0.9+

    The rotary excavators for the Victoria line would be at around level 0.75 (eg item 4 above).

  56. Alan Griffiths says:

    Today, Crossrail has opened a completion to name to 2 TBMs that will dig from Pudding Mill Lane to Stepney.
    I’ve suggested Christine and Tessa, in honour of east London’s Olympic Gold medal winners.

    Footnote: In view of his well-known hostility to London’s Olympic Ganes, this post has a secondary function as a test of Greg Tingey’s ability to keep his temper.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Citius, Altius, Fortius

    On the scale of 0 – 10, is a powered Greathead Shield a dog or an insect.

    The machines being used to repair the Jubilee Underground Railway tunnel have some of the features of a TBM – where do they fit into the scheme?

  58. DW down under says:

    Anonymous @ 06:45AM, 1st May 2013

    TRM = Tunnel repairing machine, simple. They’re not boring, in any sense of the word.

    I do wonder whether this sort of kit would help reduce the cost of reworking tube lines (eg Junctions, extending stations, putting in crossovers, etc) – or even just tidying up tunnel alignments, like the Central Line.

  59. Greg Tingey says:

    Alan Griffiths
    Very funny – well, if you emote (since it is plain that no THOUGHT is required) that all that money was well spent and that the “games” were actually popular or loved, in contrast to the overwhleming & condescending guvmint & press hype, that’s another story.

    However, on-topic, & since they have an “olympic” theme, & the vile Coe’s public association with fascists is on record, I suggest:
    Triumph of the will
    Strength through Joy
    [Will & Joy for short! ]

  60. Alan Griffiths says:

    Dear Greg,

    You passed!

  61. stimarco says:

    I’m not seeing a “report spam” link anywhere, so I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest the mods take a close look at the two previous posts.

    [A few do get through. Hopefully got rid of now. PoP]

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