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HS2 tunnelling machine called Dorothy becomes first to complete its journey

The 2,000-tonne tunnel-boring machine is called Dorothy.

25 July 2022

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

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

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

HS2 celebrates historic first tunnelling breakthrough
Dorothy completing its one-mile dig under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire (HS2/PA)

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.”

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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