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I’m on the last leg of my trip home after what’s turned out to be a fun-filled day – although it didn’t initially feel like that when my alarm went off at 06:30!

However, as I made my weary way from my friends flat to Clapham Junction station, I was treated to one of those spectacular sunrises that literally brightens your day. Sadly, I didn’t have time to grab more than a camera phone shot from the station as I had an appointment to keep. Making my way across central London via the ‘tube’ I pitched up at Marylebone station for the short train trip out to West Ruislip, the location of today’s press event. HS2 Ltd are launching two Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) from a site adjacent to the railway. The TBMs will spend the next 2 years tunnelling South to bore 5 miles of tunnels. The first machine (Sushila) was launched a couple of weeks ago and is already 70 meters underground. We were here to see the launch of the second machine, named ‘Caroline’. I’ll blog about this in detail later, but for now, here’s a few pictures from the event.

Looking down on ‘Caroline’ (nearest the camera) and ‘Sushila’, who’s already 70 meters into her journey. Behind the fence in the background id the Chiltern railway line to Birmingham. The HS2 site is rail connected as the tunnel lining segments will be brought in by train from a factory at the Isle of Grain in Kent.
Suited and booted for the job. Not a bad way to spend my birthday as very few people get to see the inside of a TBM.
Here’swhat’s behind me. The tail of ‘Caroline’ with a ring of 7 tunnel segments already loaded.
Inside ‘Caroline’ just behind the cutting head. A ring is already in place and the TBM’s pistons are pushing the machine forward off them. The machine in the foreground is a rotating drum that picks up the individual 8 tonne segments and puts them in place once the individual rams blocking the way are retracted. Each ring is 2 meters wide and consists of 7 segments.

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