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Tideway's Millicent and Ursula sail into London

Tideway - Arrival of millicent and ursula

Tideway has welcomed the first shipment of two more TBMs in preparation for the start of tunnelling later this year.

The TBMs, named Millicent and Ursula, were built in Le Creusot, France and have travelled 500 miles to London via Hamburg, Germany.

Weighing in at more than 1,300t each, Millicent and Ursula are the project’s largest TBM and will be 8.8m in diameter and more than 100m long.

The TBMs were transported along the Thames, in line with Tideway’s commitment to transport over 90% of materials by river which will reduce the number of road vehicle journeys needed to build the tunnel.

To make the journey from France, the machines had to be dismantled and will arrive in several parts over the coming weeks and be reassembled at Tideway’s Kirtling Street site in Battersea, close to Battersea Power Station.

Tideway’s chief executive officer Andy Mitchell said: “The arrival of Tideway’s second and third TBMs is another exciting milestone, signalling that work is gearing up on London’s super sewer.

“This is going to be a big year for Tideway and we’re working hard to get tunnel shafts completed in preparation for the start of tunnelling later this year.

“It is particularly fitting that we are delivering Millicent during the centenary of the right to vote for women in 1918.”

Millicent was named after Dame Millicent Fawcett, an English suffragist, intellectual, and political leader, who is soon to be the first woman to be commemorated with a statue erected at Parliament Square.

Ursula was named after Audrey ‘Ursula’ Smith, a British cryobiologist at King’s College Hospital in South London who discovered the use of glycerol to protect human red blood cells during freezing.

Millicent will tunnel 5km westwards from Kirtling Street to Carnwath Road in Fulham while Ursula will tunnel 7.6km eastwards from Kirtling Street to Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey.

In total six TBMs will used to build the £4.2bn 25km Tideway tunnel, and will range from 2.6m to 7.2m in diameter. All have been named in a public vote after six inspirational women with a connection to the area where each machine will start its journey. 

The project’s first TBM Rachel arrived in London in November last year. 

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