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Millicent and Ursula sail the Thames

UKIS 2018

Official Project Partner : Tideway

Two new tunnel boring machines, which are set to help create Tideway – London’s super sewer – have arrived in London, sailing up the Thames, ready to start tunneling 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. They are largest of Tideway’s tunnel boring machines, with Millicent and Ursula each weighing more than 1,300 tonnes, measuring 8.8m in diameter, and are more than 100m long.

Tideway has committed to transporting over 90% of materials by river, therefore reducing the number of road vehicle journeys needed to build the tunnel. Millicent and Ursula are no different, with the first parts sailing down the Thames late last week. To make the journey from France, the machines had to be dismantled and will be reassembled at Tideway’s Kirtling Street site in Battersea, close to Battersea Power Station.

Andy Mitchell, Tideway’s Chief Executive Officer, 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. While 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 five kilometres from Kirtling Street to Carnwath Road in Fulham while Ursula will tunnel 7.6km from Kirtling Street to Chambers Wharf in Bermondsey.


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