HS2 tunnelling machine ‘Dorothy’ becomes first to complete its journey

Dorothy breaks through the wall of the reception box at the South Portal site on Friday 22 July.

One of the giant machines digging the tunnels for HS2 has become the first on the project to complete the full journey underground.

Dorothy breaks through the wall of the reception box at the South Portal site on Friday 22 July.
Dorothy breaks through the wall of the reception box at the South Portal site on Friday 22 July.

Named Dorothy, after Dorothy Hodgkin, the first British woman to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1964, the 2,000-tonne tunnel-boring machine (TBM) completed its one-mile dig under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire.

The 125 metre-long TBM started its journey at the tunnel’s North Portal in December 2021, and broke through the wall of the reception box at the South Portal site on Friday.

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HS2 Ltd’s CEO Mark Thurston said: “This is a historic moment for the HS2 project, and I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in delivering it.

“The 400-strong team, including tunnelling engineers, TBM operators and the construction workers at both portal sites, have pulled out all the stops to achieve this fantastic milestone.

“This milestone demonstrates the significant momentum behind Britain’s new zero-carbon railway, creating thousands of jobs and apprenticeships, along with hundreds of opportunities for businesses right across the country, helping fuel our economic recovery.”

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HS2 minister Trudy Harrison said: “This is, quite literally, a ground-breaking moment – demonstrating that we are getting on with delivering on our promises and progressing our transformative plans to boost transport, bring communities together and level up the North and Midlands.

“As Dorothy paves the way for journeys between Birmingham and London, we continue to strive towards a greener, faster and more direct transport network.”

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