Journey home for ‘Busy Lizzie’

By Laura Hatton29 July 2015

The parts were transported from Abbey Mills Pumping Station to Tilbury Docks

The parts were transported from Abbey Mills Pumping Station to Tilbury Docks

Transport service provider WWL ALS helped deliver the Busy Lizzie tunnel boring machine (TBM) to German manufacturer Herrenknecht following the completion of the Lee Tunnel Project in the UK.

The Lee Tunnel is part of the Thames Tideway Scheme. It runs from Abbey Mills Pumping Station to Beckton Sewage Treatment Works under the London Borough of Newham in London, UK.

With its work done, Busy Lizzie was dismantled into six sections, ready for transport to Germany. The largest part was the cutting head at 9 metres long, 5 m wide and 2 m high. It weighed 80 tonnes. The heaviest sections to be transported were the main drive, which weighed 135 tonnes and was 5.2 m long, 5 m wide and 3.5 m high. The bottom shield section weighed 115 tonnes and was 7.10 m long, 6.8 m wide and 3.5 m high.

The dimensions of the components meant that the UK Highway Agency issued a permit for the sections to be transported directly to Tilbury Port in Essex. After extensive planning and route surveys, the parts were transported from Abbey Mills Pumping Station to Tilbury Docks along with police escort.

To assist with the transport, street furniture was removed and parking suspensions were put in place along the route. The sections of the TBM were transported over three weekday evenings. On arrival at the port, the components were lifted using a 750 tonne capacity Liebherr LG 1750 lattice boom hydraulic truck crane onto a WWL ALS chartered vessel. The sections were shipped to Rotterdam and transferred onto a barge and sailed along the River Rhine to a terminal close to the Herrenknecht facility. The pieces were then unloaded and delivered to the manufacturer by road.

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