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Tunnelling for the Northern line extension starts soon in Nine Elms

Leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia was in Nine Elms today to inspect two recently delivered tunnelling boring machines which will soon start digging the Northern Line extension.

The Unveiling of the Tunnel Boring Machines at Battersea Power Station. [Picture by Ben Stevens / i-Images]

Published on
January 20, 2017

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Co-chair of the Nine Elms Vauxhall Partnership and leader of Wandsworth Council, Ravi Govindia was in Nine Elms today to inspect two recently delivered tunnelling boring machines which will soon start digging the Northern Line extension.

Tunnelling begins in March this year and the Tube extension is expected to open for business in 2020.

According to tunnelling tradition, the machines cannot start work until given a name and, following a vote by local school children, the machines are being named Helen and Amy in honour of the first British astronaut, Helen Sharman, and British aviation pioneer Amy Johnson, who was the first female pilot to fly solo from Britain to Australia.

Cllr Govindia said: “This Tube extension is already transforming the fortunes of north Battersea and it’s a great pleasure to see these two colossal machines are here and ready to start work. The Nine Elms regeneration programme is one of the greatest sources of new jobs and homes in the country and this would not be possible without the Tube link.

“Wandsworth worked long and hard to shape the unique funding package behind this project, which includes contributions from private development sites like Battersea Power Station combined with business rates revenue from the area’s commercial growth. It’s an innovative model which could help unlock other regeneration projects in the future.”

The Northern Line extension helped to kick start the regeneration of Nine Elms and Vauxhall which is on course to create around 25,000 new jobs and more than 20,000 new homes. Construction is also boosting the UK economy, supporting around 1,000 jobs, including around 50 apprenticeships.

As well as two new tunnels, two new stations are being created: one at the heart of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment and another at Nine Elms to the east, serving new developments such as the US Embassy and the redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market, as well as existing communities.

The machines will tunnel at depths of 26 metres for six months, excavating more than 300,000 tonnes of earth. This will then be passed along conveyors before being loaded on to barges and taken to Goshems Farm in East Tilbury, Essex, where it will be used to create arable farmland. This will remove more than 40,000 lorry journeys from the Capital’s roads, reducing congestion.


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