Minimising disturbance to Londoners while solving the sewage problem

Mammoet has successfully delivered the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) to the Thames Tideway Tunnel project in Central London, United Kingdom. Named Rachel, after Rachel Parsons, an engineer and advocate for women’s employment rights, the machine will weigh 1,350 tonnes when fully assembled. Sailing under London’s Tower Bridge and to shore upstream at Fulham, it completed a 850km journey from Germany across the North Sea, via Mammoet’s European Headquarters in Schiedam, The Netherlands.

The first tunnel boring machine (TBM) is transported by Mammoet along the River Thames.
The first tunnel boring machine (TBM) is transported by Mammoet along the River Thames.

The 7km west section of the project that Rachel will drive is being delivered by a joint venture for BAM Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and Balfour Beatty Group, forms a part of the wider project to build a tunnel to capture the overflow from the ageing Victorian sewer system. Sailing the seas to deliver clean water

“Minimising disturbance at every step, that’s been the aim of this project,” explains Matthew Gent, Managing Director for Mammoet in the UK. “Using the River Thames to bring in the machinery was the most efficient solution. The Mammoet engineering team worked closely with the manufacturers, Herrenknecht AG, and Tideway’s project managers on site to ensure that the machine was delivered on time with the minimum impact on the local area.”

Superior service for the super sewer

Gent continues: “Tideway needed to transport the TBMs from the manufacturer in Germany to the construction site in London. We were able to offer a heavy lifting and transport solution, as well as the expert engineering team to complete the manoeuvre. We provided the flat top barge for marine transport and on-shore self-propelled modular transporters (SPMT). Our 1200 and 750-tonne crane systems will also be used to reassemble the machinery on-site ready for tunnelling to commence.”

When fully assembled the TBM will be 147m long, the length of 12 and a half double-decker buses, and it will measure 8.13m in diameter.

Tunnelling will commence in 2018.