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Tunnel segment plant begins full operations
20/04/2012 | Channel:
A new tunnel segment manufacturing facility has begun full operations in west London, pouring the first batch of 250,000 concrete segments that will line 42km (26 miles) of Crossrail tunnels.
Located at Old Oak Common, the facility will employ about 60 people at its peak, including the first of 15 trainees and apprentices, some of whom have been unemployed for up to 12 months.
They are among the first group of apprentices and trainees to receive training at the new Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) – a facility that will not only train up to 3500 people to work on Crossrail, but will also continue to operate well beyond the Crossrail project and help the UK become a world leader in tunnelling construction.
The segment production has begun ahead of the start of Crossrail tunnelling next month, with the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) currently being assembled at Westbourne Park. The concrete segments will be loaded onto the 1000 tonne mobile underground factory. As the 140-metre-long machine advance forward the precast concrete segments will be formed into rings to line the tunnels behind the TBM cutter head.
Joint venture contractors, BAM Ferrovial Kier (BFK), will manufacture more than 75,000 tunnel segments at the Old Oak Common site to be used in the 6.4 kilometre (four miles) twin tunnels running between Royal Oak in west London and Farringdon. Construction of the segment factory for the eastern running tunnels between Farringdon and Docklands is currently underway at Chatham in Kent and scheduled for completion in late April.
At least 400 apprenticeships will be created over the life of the Crossrail project. More than 70 apprentices have already started work.
The trainees and apprentices at the concrete segment factory have received pre-apprenticeship training at TUCA in abrasive wheels, manual handling, site logistics and pre-cast concrete manufacturing, and passed their CSCS Health and Safety tests.
The factory will produce more than 200 segments per day at its peak and include a laboratory to test the quality of the concrete to ensure that the segments have a 120 year life. The factory has been built specifically for the production of Crossrail’s tunnel segments with the site to become home to a major Crossrail train depot once segment production is completed.