A rail tunnel of superlatives will be built under Mont Cenis between Lyon and Turin. The entire section will be 57.5 kilometers long. Three tunnel boring machines from the German company Herrenknecht have already been delivered for this project. A fourth has now followed, Herrenknecht reported in December. It is the first to cross the border between France and Italy. With a diameter of 10.4 meters, a weight of 3,200 tons and a length of 334 meters, it will drive one of the two 18-kilometer-long tubes of the Mont-Cenis Base Tunnel.
The Gripper-TBM machine braces itself in the rock face with two so-called gripper shoes and pushes itself forward. Meanwhile, the drill head rotates with 62 cutting rollers and removes the rock from the face piece by piece.
On the occasion of the ceremonial acceptance at the Herrenknecht plant Maurizio Bufalini, General Director of the client TELT, emphasized the European appeal of the overall project: “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.”
Company founder and CEO Dr.-Ing. E.h. Martin Herrenknecht was also delighted. “The delivery of the Gripper TBM for the Mont-Cenis Base Tunnel is another historic milestone for Herrenknecht. We are very proud to be part of such a flagship project”. The second tunnel boring machine of this type for the parallel tube will be accepted in Schwanau in February.
PROJECT DATA MONT-CENIS BASE TUNNEL, SECTION CO5
–Client: TELT SAS
-Contractors: Eiffage Génie Civil/Spie batignolles génie civil/Ghella Spa/Cogeis Spa JV
-Tunnelling length: 2 x 18,000m
-Machine type: 2 x Gripper TBM S-1363 / S-1364
-Cutterhead drive power: 4,900kW