Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

The GTMoD Cometh...

Preparations continue apace for the arrival of the Giant Tunnelling Machines of Doom. I took these pictures today, from the footbridge at the end of the road, showing preparation of the portal and the assembly of the tunnelling machines. The sheer size of these things isn't really clear from these pictures - they are at least 200 yards away, and behind the round bit (which is the main cutting part) they extend back for at least 100ft. Unfortunately all of the places I can see this are behind multiple fences etc. so it's impossible to get a decent photo. There are two giant cranes above them (the grey rectangular frame things, once behind the other), they look like the sort of thing used to handle shipping containers.

Tonight the first stage of moving the first machine into place begins - they're rehearsing an essential part of the move, raising the foot-bridge where I took this picture so that the machine can get underneath it. This involves closing the bridge and jacking up the northern third by about ten feet. Needless to say I can't get a picture because they're closing the ends of the bridge...

If all goes well tonight they'll move the first tunnelling machine into place on Wednesday night, finish assembling it, and start tunnelling, then put the second one into play some time in April.

My previous guess that the grey superstructure above the portal opening will eventually support cables is almost certainly wrong; it's way too high and massive. I think it must be involved in spoil removal and / or power supplies etc. for the tunnelling machines.

Anyway, two more pictures, lots more machinery...

Looking East towards the portal

Looking West towards Westbourne Park and the assembly site

I really need to remember to take some pictures of the structure above the portal - hopefully tomorrow.

later More details of the tunnelling machines here:

MUCH bigger than I thought, more than 100 metres long!

And the red things are apparently the supports that will hold the bridge up while the machine moves under it.
Tags: crossrail

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