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Tunnel Boring Machine Annie starts tunnelling

The giant tunnelling machine set to create the 4.5km connection tunnel between Greenwich Pumping Station and the main super sewer at Chambers Wharf has begun her journey.

The Herrenknecht machine, Annie, which is smaller than the main tunnel TBMs but still a whopping 6.4m wide, will continue past sites in Deptford and at Earl Pumping Station en route to Bermondsey.

Named after Annie Scott Dill Russell, the first female scientist to work at the Greenwich Observatory, the machine was initially assembled at a site by the O2 Arena having been shipped from Germany before being dismantled and transported via local roads.

With the team now focussed on the tunnelling and the associated marine operations, Tideway has now begun work on the project’s final major connection tunnel.

Darren Kehoe, Project Manager at Greenwich, said: “It’s great to finally see TBM Annie building rings and moving forward.

“We’ve overcome many challenges getting to here and I’m proud of the team for their dedication and diligence in reaching this point.”

TBM Annie is well over 100m long and weighs in at around 960 tonnes – about the same as the nearby Cutty Sark.

And with the marine infrastructure in place at Phoenix Wharf, the northern half of the site in Greenwich, much of the excavated spoil will be removed from site by barge – in line with Tideway’s commitment to move material by river where possible.