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Tunnelling starts at Network Rail’s Farnworth site

Network Rail’s project to reconstruct Farnworth tunnel is well underway with the start of tunnelling work at the site.

Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Fillie was delivered to site last month and will be used to drive a 270m-long tunnel as part of the £1bn investment in electrification of the route between Manchester and Preston.

Around 7,500m3 of foam concrete has been pumped into the existing Farnworth tunnel which will allow Fillie to re-bore it with a larger diameter to accommodate two tracks and overhead power lines.

Measuring 9m in diameter at its cutter head, the TBM is bigger than the machines used to build London’s Crossrail (7.1m), the Thames Tideway “super sewer” (8m) and the Channel Tunnel (8.8m).

The tunnel is scheduled to reopen on 5 October 2015.

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