Crossrail rather famously has several very large tunnel boring machines, but has now just launched a tiny little baby one as well.

Not to dig a tunnel for trains, as it is far too small for that, it is in fact drilling a third of a mile tunnel that will replace a sewer that will be cut off by the main railway services.

The old sewer sits just underneath the existing rail tracks at Westbourne Park, and those are due to be lowered, slicing the top off the sewer, which naturally renders it useless — or maybe a rather pungent open sewer/hidden river?

This means the sewer must be replaced with a deeper one between Great Western Road and Tavistock Road, passing beneath the Great Western mainline and Hammersmith & City line, and then west under Tavistock Road to Basing Street.

Crossrail’s contractors BFK and Barhale opened a competition for primary school students at Canada Blanch School in west London to name the tunnelling machine

And they chose to call it Molley, presumably after the mole that it emulates.

Molley is too small to accommodate workers so is controlled remotely from the surface. Works are scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.


It’s not the only mini TBM being deployed on Crossrail though, as a similar project was carried out over on the other side of London, at Woolwich, although as that was by the housing company that built the station, it might be argued that it wasn’t technically a Crossrail tunnel.


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One comment
  1. Dan Tonks says:

    The thought of this munching away with its painted on teeth and eyes makes me far too happy…

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