3,200 tonne TBM delivered to France-Italy rail tunnel project
30 January 2024
A tunnel boring machine (TBM) manufactured by German tunnelling and mining firm Herrenknecht has been delivered to the Lyon-Turin Mont Cenis base tunnel project.
The 334-m-long machine, with a head diameter of 10.4m, will excavate an 18km stretch of the tunnel that crosses the French-Italian border.
Weighing 3,200 tons, the ‘Gripper’ model TBM – so called because its ‘gripper shoes’ allow it to attach to the tunnel walls and propel itself forward – marks the fourth delivery by Herrenknecht for the Mont Cenis rail tunnel project, with a fifth machine currently in the construction phase.
The drill head, with a drive power of 4,900kW and torque of 13,000kNm, rotates with 62 cutting rollers, which remove rock from the tunnel face as the TBM progresses.
Maurizio Bufalini, general director of the project’s management consortium, TELT, said, “This is the first of two TBMs that will cross the border – the most tangible symbol of our project: a railroad that will connect Italy and France through the Alps and link our countries and Europe in a more efficient, economical, and sustainable way.”
Martin Herrenknecht, CEO of the tunnelling and mining equipment manufacturer, said the delivery of the TBM to the base tunnel was a “historic milestone” for Herrenknecht, adding, “We are very proud to be part of such a flagship project.”