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Last tunneling machine Selina lowered below ground

The last giant tunnel boring machine (TBM) set to create the final 5.5km stretch of London’s new super sewer has been lowered below ground.

The TBM, Selina, was delivered to Tideway’s Chambers Wharf site in Bermondsey from Germany in July and following completion of the specialist lifting system, the team successfully lowered the machine to the bottom of the shaft over a period of 12 hours.

Selina’s front shield and cutterhead weighs almost 800 tonnes and when the accompanying six gantries are lowered, the TBM will weigh almost 1500 tonnes and stretch 111 metres.  

The machine will now be readied to begin her underground journey towards Abbey Mills Pumping Station.  

A total of six TBMs are being used to create London’s super sewer (with two already finished tunnelling).

Digging more than 60m below the ground, Selina will tunnel on a slight decline toward the pumping station in east London.

Recently, the TBM travelled over 800km by water to Chambers Wharf from the port of Kehl in Germany via Rotterdam where a giant vessel called a Skylift 3000 completed the journey to the UK and up the Thames to central London.

The machine also received her traditional send-off when Revd Canon Michael Rawson visited the site to bless the TBM, the workforce, and the statue of Santa Barbara, the patron saint of those working underground.

Selina is named after Dr Selina Fox, who founded the Bermondsey Medical Mission in 1904. The small clinic and eight-bed hospital provided medical and spiritual care to the most vulnerable women and children in the area, and continues to this day as a local charity.