Land & Sea A tunnel boring machine's journey to Teesside

Our tunnelling machine arrived safely at Wilton International in mid-February 2019, after its long journey on river, land and sea. Assembly started immediately, ahead of operations commencing in April.

Once fully constructed, it will dig the first 8 mile section of our 23 mile mineral transportation tunnel.


The machine was built by tunnel engineering specialists, Herrenknecht, in Schwanau in south western Germany, before sailing to Rottderdam via barge on the Rhine river – a journey of around 500 miles.


The TBM was then lifted from the barge onto a ship before setting sail on its 250 mile journey to Teesside.


The TBM was lifted from the ship at AV Dawson’s port facility and loaded onto heavy haulage trucks before departing for Wilton.

The TBM being lifted and loaded at AV Dawson.
The sunrise on the morning of the convoy.
Police officers discussing the operation with the logistics team before convoy departs.
The first part of the TBM departs.
Middlesbrough's Transporter Bridge featured as a poignant backdrop for the operation.
The convoy passes the Riverside Stadium on its way to Wilton.
The convoy heads down Kirkleatham Lane, Redcar.
Spectators at the corner of Locke Park in Redcar stop to watch the TBM pass.

The TBM arrives at our Wilton site, where it will be reassembled before being launched in the coming months.

TV crew getting into position.
TBM is prepared for unload.
GCS Johnson team discuss a successful operation.
TBM parts are lowered onto ground at Wilton.

TBM key facts

TBM weight: 1,775 tonnes

Machine diameter: 6m

Finished tunnel diameter: 4.9m

Total length of TBM: 225m

TBM under assembly at Wilton

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