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And now there are four as Anne gets boring for HS2 tunnel

High speed rail network HS2 has revealed that the fourth and final machine to build its Northolt tunnel has begun.

The 8.4-mile tunnel will run from Victoria Road in North Acton to West Ruislip in Hillingdon and will eventually be carrying trains in and out of London.

In order to do this four huge tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have been deployed and the latest like all previous machines is named after a prominent local woman – Lady Anne Byron. Anne was an educational reformer and philanthropist who lived between 1792 and 1860 and established the Ealing Grove School in 1834. HS2 says the name was chosen by the local community through a public vote.

TBM Anne will bore from Victoria Road in North Acton to Greenpark Way in Greenford, alongside TBM Emily which launched in February 2024.

Malcolm Codling, HS2’s project client director for the London tunnels said: “HS2 has reached peak tunnelling activity as we focus on delivering the HS2 route between London and Birmingham. The launch of Anne is the culmination of many years of work for the London Tunnels team and a further triumph in British engineering.”

James Richardson, managing director for Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture said: “The launch of TBM Anne is a milestone moment in this year of peak activity for the HS2 London Tunnels project. With a quartet of TBMs and over 20 construction sites all making significant progress, we are on course to deliver the high-speed line into central London, creating economic growth and opportunities at every step of the way.”

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