Tunnelling

Project Overview : To increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10% and cutting journey times across the city, Crossrail Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London has been tasked with the delivery of a new route at a project cost of c£14.8bn.


The Crossrail route will pass through 37 stations and run 118km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21km tunnels below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Scope: Through a competitive bidding process and due to the success of the installation of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Sophia in November 2012, Lifting Gear UK was successful in securing the contract lifting service to the Plumstead site in Southeast London to manage the lowering of Crossrail’s second 1000 tonne TBM, Mary, into the ground which, when constructed, extends to 100m in length.


On this second project, the client entrusted Lifting Gear UK with greater project responsibility which required increased labour. The teams specialist expertise was imperative to the success of the installation.

Our Approach: Led by Lifting Gear UK’s Operations Director, Chris Turner, a team of eight specialised personnel worked on site for the four week contract duration. Working from our own detailed drawings and method
statements, the team provided all the necessary lifting equipment, large engineered steel mats, timber mats, a 700 tonne mobile crane and a 200 tonne crawler crane.


The team positioned a crane at each end of the portal to enable them to feed the various segments valued at £1m each, of the TBM through the support beams. This precise operation was complex at times with literally millimetres to spare on either side of the portal walling. Once the segments were in situ, they were offered to the Herrenknecht team who continued the build up of the TBM.

Project Innovation and Client Testimonial:
Crossrail onsite (February edition): “The Thames tunnelling giants have been launched in a different way to any other Crossrail machines, employing a technique that has never before been used in the UK. Sophia and Mary are being pulled rather than pushed into the portal headwall using an innovative technique developed by Hochtief, one half of the HochtiefMurphy joint venture that are building the tunnel.”

Chris Ashton, Hochtief Murphy JV: “Lifting Gear UK were employed by the joint venture to assemble TBM Sophia and Mary. During the assembly of TBM Mary, Lifting Gear UK supplied all the necessary persons to conduct the lifting operations. It is credit to the Company that all 50 or so lifts were conducted next to a live running railway and running tunnel without any interruptions to either. The professionalism the team showed was excellent and our TBM supplier Herrenknecht was more than satisfied with the quality of the work and standards. To see £1m worth of TBM hanging off the crane is daunting enough but with Chris and Team at the helm everything went
calmly and smooth.”

Project Overview : To increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10% and cutting journey times across the city, Crossrail Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London has been tasked with the delivery of a new route at a project cost of £14.8bn.


The Crossrail route will pass through 37 stations and run 118km from Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21km tunnels below central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Scope: Through a competitive bidding process, Lifting Gear UK secured the provision of contract lifting services for the installation of Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Sophia. The scope of works, based at the Plumstead site in South East London was for planning and managing of the lowering of HMJV’s first 1000 tonne TBM into the launch chamber. When fully constructed, the TBM extends to over 100m in length.


Due to the nature of the project, the team was required to work on a 24/7 basis. They worked in close conjunction with Hochtief Murphy JV and the TBM manufacturer Herrenknecht to ensure the safe and timely installation of the TBM.

Our Approach: Led by Lifting Gear UK’s Operations Director, Chris Turner, a team of four specialised personnel worked on site for the three week contract duration. Working from our own detailed drawings and method statements, the team provided all the necessary lifting equipment, large engineered steel mats, timber mats, a 700 tonne mobile crane and a 200 tonne crawler crane.


The team positioned a crane at each end of the portal to enable them to feed the various TBM sections valued at approx £1m each through the temp works propping structure. Lifting Gear UK worked closely with Hochtief Murphy JV in gaining approval from Network Rail for the installation methodology, during which it had to be demonstrated that the adjacent live rail (2.5m away) would not be affected by the lifting operations.

Project Innovation and Client Testimonial: Crossrail onsite (February edition): “The Thames tunnelling giants have been launched in a different way to any other Crossrail machines, employing a technique that has never before been used in the UK. Sophia and Mary are being pulled rather than pushed into the portal headwall using an innovative technique developed by Hochtief, one half of the HochtiefMurphy joint venture that are building the tunnel.”


Chris Ashton, HMJV Tunnel Agent “I am very pleased with the management of the TBM installation with reference to the lifting operations – well planned, well organised and professionally executed”.