WHILE the future of the Croxley link remains in the balance, drilling work for the Northern Line extension to Battersea is due to begin in March.
Two machines will each drill two miles (3.2km) creating 5.2 metre tunnels between Kennington and the Battersea development via Nine Elms.
Both tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were given female names, as is traditional, with one called Helen and the other Amy in a ceremony on January 20. They have been named after Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut, and Amy Johnson, who in 1930 became the first female pilot to fly from Britain to Australia.
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The two 650-tonne machines, built by NFM Technologies at Le Creusot in France, were deconstructed, shipped to Battersea, and then reconstructed on site. They are due to commence boring in March and are currently undergoing tests. They are anticipated to extract 300,000 tonnes of earth, which will be taken by barge to Goshems Farm, East Tilbury, to create arable farmland.
The extension – which is expected to cost around £1.2bn to construct, £1bn of which comes from the private sector – is due to be completed in 2020.
Read more News in the March issue of RE – out now!