HS2 Tunnel Boring Machine Completes First Breakthrough

Dorothy, HS2’s 2000-tonne tunnel boring machine, has made its first breakthrough on the UK’s high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham.

The tunnel boring machine broke through at Long Itchington Wood at the end of last week, following eight months underground.

HS2 Tunnel Boring BreakthroughThis is the first of 64 miles of intricate tunnels set to make up Europe’s largest infrastructure project

© Department for Transport

Dorothy is one of ten custom-built tunnel boring machines that will work on the HS2 project. It was launched on 2 December 2021 and has now completed the first of 64 miles of tunnel that will be constructed between London and Manchester.

These tunnels have been designed to protect the woodland and ecosystem above them. The newly dug tunnel also blends in with the natural landscape, as excavated material has been reused to build a soil roof around the entrance.

HS2 Minister Trudy Harrison said: 

“This is, quite literally, a ground-breaking moment – demonstrating that we are getting on with delivering on our promises and progressing our transformative plans to boost transport, bring communities together and level up the North and Midlands. As Dorothy paves the way for journeys between Birmingham and London, we continue to strive towards a greener, faster and more direct transport network.”

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