TBM set for major Brenner Base Tunnel dig

By Mike Hayes12 January 2023

Italian contractor Webuild and its Swiss subsidiary CSC have announced that the tunnel boring machine (TBM) known as Lilia is ready to begin excavating a major section of the Brenner Base Tunnel in Austria.

TBM Lilia passes final testing from manufacturer Herrenknecht before going to work on the Brenner Base Tunnel. Photo: Webuild

In December, Lilia successfully completed its final testing programme, undertaken by the TBM’s manufacturer Herrenknecht, at the company’s facility in Schwanau, Germany.

Now, the machine will be transported over 8km, to the southern end of Lot H41, where it will commence the excavation of 22.5km of the main tunnel, working in tandem with its twin TBM, Ida.

As part of its contract for Lot H41, Webuild and CSC – along with their joint venture partner Implenia – will also line the tunnel sections that have already been excavated.

Work on the lot started last January, with the JV companies currently undertaking excavation work at the tunnel’s assembly caverns, as well as construction work at the emergency stop at Innsbruck and the partition wall of the interconnection tunnels.

When completed, the Brenner Base Tunnel, which runs partly in Austria and partly in Italy, will total 64km in length, making it the world’s longest railway tunnel.

One of the most significant infrastructure projects currently under construction in Europe, the tunnel will be a crucial junction of the European SCAN-MED (Scandinavian-Mediterranean) corridor.

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