Network Rail has announced that the tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will be used to drive the Farnworth tunnel has been delivered to site.
The TBM – named Fillie as the site compound stands on a former stables – will be used to drive a new 270m-long tunnel as part of £1bn in investment in electrification of the line between Manchester and Preston.
More than 7,000m3 of foamed concrete has been pumped into the existing tunnels over the last three weeks to enable the TBM to rebore the tunnel with a larger 9m diameter to accommodate the electrification equipment and twin tracks.
Network Rail has said that the TBM will be assembled over the next week before being lowered into the 20m long, 3m deep and 11m wide launch pit.
Reconstruction of the tunnel is scheduled to be completed in October.