London Power Tunnels start to dig deep

National Grid’s London Power Tunnels project has entered a new phase with the arrival of a second giant tunnel-boring machine. The project is part of a capital-wide plan to lay […]

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By Tom Gibson

National Grid’s London Power Tunnels project has entered a new phase with the arrival of a second giant tunnel-boring machine. The project is part of a capital-wide plan to lay 32km of underground electricity cables.

The massive machine, named Evelyn, will be used to tunnel 19 kilometres of the 32km subterranean electricity superhighway. Evelyn joins the first TBM drill, Cleopatra, which began tunnelling back in the autumn. The machines are digging a route which will link up National Grid’s existing substations at Hackney, St John’s Wood, Willesden and Wimbledon.

Gareth Burden, National Grid Project Manager said: “Our work will help ensure London has the power infrastructure to support it as a world class leader in business, commerce, sport and tourism, both now and into the future.”

Housing the cables deep underground means construction and repair won’t interfere with life above ground and avoids the likes of needless road works. Once tunneling is finished, high voltage electricity cables will be installed. The tunnel is expected to be operational by 2018.