The Impact of HS2 on Tunnelling.

Isabelle Mather By Isabelle Mather

Phase one of the HS2 project is now underway.

While there’s been lots of controversy around HS2, there are plenty of benefits to get excited about. It will unite many of the UK’s major cities by cutting travel times in half and help reduce carbon emissions.

The £50 billion project will also have a major effect on the tunnelling market, which I recruit for. In phase one, there are 32 miles of tunnel. That means 130 million tonnes of earth will be excavated, enough to fill Wembley Stadium 15 times.

This will be done by two 2000-tonne Tunnel Boring Machines named Florence, after Florence Nightingale and Cecilia, after Buckinghamshire-born astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin.

The project is expected to create a lot of jobs. During peak construction the project should produce over 30,000 jobs and 2,000 apprenticeships, with contracts already delivered by 2,000 businesses.

So, while I’m aware of the controversy, HS2 still has reason to stir some excitement in the tunnelling market.

If you’re in the tunnelling industry and have an opinion on HS2, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Give me a message at


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