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Tunnelling machine lifted from ground for next part of its journey

A giant tunnelling machine has been lifted from a shaft at King George's Park in Wandsworth to start the next stage of its journey to Fulham.

The tunnel boring machine (TBM), named after suffragist Charlotte Despard, is digging the Frogmore Connection Tunnel from Wandsworth to Fulham as part of the Thames Tideway Tunnel project to clean up the River Thames from sewage pollution.

Having completed the 500m southern section of the tunnel, from Dormay Street to King George’s Park, Charlotte has been hoisted out of the shaft, taken back to Dormay Street and placed back into the ground to tunnel a further 600 metres north to Fulham.

The giant machine became the first to break through the ground to complete a section of tunnel for London’s new super sewer in October.

When completed, the 1.1km connection tunnel will take sewage overflows from King George’s Park into the main 25km super sewer at Fulham, where it will be transferred to east London for treatment instead of polluting the River Thames.

Charlotte is a three-metre-wide machine and more than 70 metres long, while the Frogmore Connection Tunnel is being created at a depth of around 30 metres.

The TBM has been refurbished and previously worked on a water ring-main project in north London.