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Seventh tunnel boring machine for Brenner Base Tunnel delivered

Once completed, the Brenner Base Tunnel (BBT) – with a total length of 64 km (40 miles) -will be the longest underground rail link in the world. Herrenknecht is delivering eight tunnel boring machines (TBM) for the construction of the new transalpine rail link between Austria and Italy. On March 7, 2024, the seventh TBM was presented to the customer and client in Schwanau.

On behalf of Brenner Basistunnel BBT SE (BBT), the project operator for the transalpine rail link, construction consortia are building two tunnel tubes and a continuous exploratory tunnel in various construction lots. Herrenknecht has now presented the first of two double shield tunnel boring machines for construction lot H53 Pfons-Brenner. The consortium of the companies PORR and MARTI will use them to excavate 7,500 m (24,600 ft) of tunnel in the direction of Innsbruck.

The Austrian and Swiss tunnel construction specialists of the H53 Pfons-Brenner Base Tunnel consortium ordered a double shield TBM from Herrenknecht for this purpose.

“The Brenner Base Tunnel is a project of the century and also extremely challenging from a technical point of view. H53 Pfons-Brenner is the largest construction lot in Austria,” said PORR CEO Karl-Heinz Strauss.

Double shield TBMs are among the most technically sophisticated TBMs. They combine the functional principles of gripper and single shield TBMs in one machine. This powerful technology is therefore predestined for driving long tunnels in hard rock. Bernhard Kuderer, project manager at Herrenknecht,

emphasizes: “In close cooperation with the consortium, we are providing tailor-made solutions for the complex geological requirements of this project.”

The new Herrenknecht double shield for the Brenner Base Tunnel has a diameter of 10,370 millimetres, a length of around 183 m (600 ft) and weighs a total of around 2.5 kt (2,700 st) (both figures include the back-up). Transportation of the first parts of the machine from the Herrenknecht factory in Schwanau to Austria is expected to start at the end of March. The machine will then be reassembled in the assembly cavern. Tunneling is scheduled to begin in fall 2024. The eighth, identical double shield TBM for driving

the second tunnel tube in lot H53 Pfons-Brenner is also currently being built at the Herrenknecht plant in Schwanau and will be delivered in spring.

The Brenner Base Tunnel, which is designed as a flat track and runs almost horizontally, forms the core of the new Brenner line between Munich and Verona. It will lead to a significant improvement in travel and transport options on one of Europe’s central transport axes and help to shift freight traffic in the Alpine region to rail.

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