THE breakthrough of a tunnelling machine into HS2’s underground Old Oak Common station is being celebrated by engineers.

It is a key milestone in plans to eventually carry the high-speed line into central London.

The tunnel boring machine (TBM), named Lydia, finished its near-kilometre long journey into the station box in a move that completes the construction of the Atlas Road Logistics Tunnel.

The 853m-long tunnel, which runs from the Atlas Road logistics hub, will eventually allow materials required for the Euston Tunnel to be transported to the site without clogging up roads or disrupting work going on elsewhere at Old Oak Common station.

The logistics tunnel was created using a TBM made from components re-purposed from a machine previously used to construct the Elizabeth Line. The name Lydia, selected by the community, is after Lydia Gandaa, a former teacher at Old Oak Common Primary School.

The TBM broke through to the eastern end of the Old Oak Common underground station box, currently under construction.

Malcolm Codling, Project Client Director for HS2 Ltd said: “[It] takes us closer along our journey to bring HS2 into central London at Euston.”

Over the past nine months, Lydia has removed 62,000 tons of London clay, all of which is sent by rail for re-use across the UK.

A team of 100 has been working around the clock to complete the tunnel, working in shifts to operate the TBM and above-ground operations.

The logistics tunnel will be used to deliver materials to the two Euston Tunnel TBMs, including more than 56,000 concrete tunnel segments, manufactured in Hartlepool, and to take away the London clay excavated.

Bringing in materials by road and removing the excavated spoil would have had a significant impact on roads.