The giant Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) named after a member of staff at the Royal Hospital Chelsea has completed London’s newest tunnel under the Thames.

The 330 metre long subterranean passageway starts in the grounds of the famous home of the Chelsea Pensioners and goes below the river, before emerging in Battersea Park.

Tunnelling took 24 days to complete, with 4,500 m3 of material - approximately the same size as 30 double decker buses - excavated.

TBM Amanda was being controlled remotely by an above-ground operator who was supported by an array of engineers, technicians and specialists.

The drill, which was named after the hospital’s infirmary business manager Amanda Lord, will now be cleaned up ready for other tunnelling projects.

The project involves the transportation of huge parts

The work carried out by the machine is part of a £1 billion programme to replace the ageing gas infrastructure in the capital.

This shot shows the scale of the project

The project team will now start preparing the tunnel for the installation of the new gas pipe.


Cadent Gas, which is undertaking the project, says the pipe will help keep the burgeoning area, which includes the Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms development, connected to safe and reliable gas supplies for cooking and heating.

Not good if you don't like heights...

Facts about the project:

  • £17.5m – Project value – Same as an 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, most expensive British car in history
  • Amanda – TBM is named “Amanda” after Amanda Lord, Infirmary Manager at the Royal Hospital
  • 3km – Tunnels completed by the TBM since 1997 including England, Wales and Mexico
  • 330m – The tunnel is longer than the Eiffel Tower
  • 618 – Number of segments to construct the two shafts
  • 4,500 m3 excavated material – Same size as 30 x Double Decker Buses!
  • Zero – Lost time incidents during the project to date

Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.

You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area

Available to download from the App Store or Google Play for Android now.