History is made as Dorothy – HS2’s state-of-the-art tunnel boring machine – completes the project’s first tunnel after 8 months underground

  • Dorothy, HS2’s massive 2,000 tonne bespoke tunnel boring machine, has completed its first tunnel breakthrough along the London-Birmingham route
  • it is the first of 100 km of complex tunnels that will constitute the largest infrastructure project in Europe, marking a major step towards faster, greener and more reliable transport
  • when completed, HS2 will play a vital role in revolutionizing transport and leveling the north, alongside the government’s record £96billion integrated rail plan

Passengers across the North and Midlands are taking another step towards faster, greener and more reliable rail services as Dorothy, HS2’s tunnel boring machine, made its first breakthrough on the London-Birmingham route after 8 months underground.

Breakthrough at Long Itchington Wood late last week, Dorothy – one of 10 bespoke tunnel drills from HS2 – has completed the first of 64 miles of tunnel that will stretch intermittently between London and Manchester. The network of tunnels is expected to improve transport across the country, level the North and Midlands and bring Europe’s biggest rail project to life.

As well as boosting local economies with fast and reliable services, tunnel boring machines are already available to communities along the route, with Dorothy alone employing 400 workers, adding to the more than 25,000 jobs created through HS2 so far.

HS2 Minister Trudy Harrison said:

This is, quite literally, a groundbreaking moment – demonstrating that we continue to deliver on our promises and advance our transformation plans to boost transport, bring communities together and level the North and Midlands.

As Dorothy paves the way for journeys between Birmingham and London, we continue to strive for a greener, faster and more direct transport network. And with our record-breaking integrated rail plan, we are stimulating the economy by creating more than 25,000 jobs.

The tunnels were specifically designed to protect the ancient forest and the complex ecosystem above. They integrate with the natural landscape by reusing materials extracted from the tunnel to build an earthen “roof” around the tunnel entrance. The rest of the excavated material will be transported off-site by conveyor belt rather than lorries and lorries, avoiding the use of approximately 30,000 heavyweight on local roads.

HS2 will play a key role in the government’s £96billion Integrated Rail Plan – the biggest ever public investment in Britain’s rail network – which, through the creation of 3 new high-speed lines, will add more seats , will shorten journey times and support local services and deliver modern, fully connected transport for the North and Midlands faster than under any previous plan.

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