A THIRD giant tunnel boring machine has begun work on the HS2 rail project at Acton.

The tunnel won’t be used by HS2 trains. Instead, it will be used to deliver materials and remove spoil from the northern portal, where HS2’s Euston twin-bored tunnel will be constructed.

Contractors launched the 847-ton machine (TBM) from the Atlas Road site in North Acton, from where it will build an 853-metre tunnel to Old Oak Common station.

It will be completed in around six months, with the tunnel constructed using 4,264 concrete segments, forming 533 tunnel rings.

It will be used to transport 8,010 segment rings to build the Euston tunnel. The segment rings are being manufactured by STRABAG in Hartlepool and will be transported by rail.

A conveyor system will also run through the logistics tunnel, connecting to an existing conveyor at Atlas Road, taking the London clay being excavated Willesden Euro Terminal.

From there, the spoil will be taken by train for re-use at sites in Kent, Cambridgeshire and Rugby.

Following a longstanding tradition of naming TBMs after women, people in the community have selected the name ‘Lydia’ for the TBM.

Lydia Gandaa is a former teacher at nearby Old Oak Common Primary School and a founding member of the Bubble & Squeak social enterprise in the area.

She is an active member of the community, running after-school and holiday clubs at the Old Oak Community Centre.

The TBM was switched on following a naming and blessing ceremony at the Atlas Road site. Lydia was at the event to see her name unveiled, alongside pupils from Old Oak Primary School.