A New Thames Tunnel You Probably Didn't Know About

M@
By M@
A New Thames Tunnel You Probably Didn't Know About

Have you ever seen a Chelsea Pensioner wearing high-vis and helmet?

Such was the scene at the unveiling of some new tunneling kit at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Inside the TBM.

The pensioners were out in force to witness the preparations for a new Thames tunnel.

The tunnel, a major new gas pipe, will run under the river between the Royal Hospital's grounds and Battersea Park.

The remote-controlled tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will carve out the route was introduced by Chelsea Pensioner Tom Bernard Mullaney, who quipped that the pair share initials.

Tom Bernard Mulvaney in front of another TBM.

By tradition, TBMs are always given female names. This one is named after Amanda Lord, a much loved member of staff at the Hospital.

"I thought she would be delighted to be nominated by the Pensioner community as she is always in the background, never in the fore and deserves recognition," said Mullaney.

Amanda was on hand to pose in front of her namesake. She tells us that she's honoured at the gesture, but admitted that inspiring the name of a boring machine came with predictable jokes.

The TBM will soon be lowered into a 30-metre shaft already excavated within the grounds of the hospital. From there, it will take just a few weeks to complete its crawl beneath the Thames to Battersea.

The work is being carried out by Cadent, a gas distribution company. It forms part of a £1 billion programme to replace ageing gas infrastructure in London.

Last Updated 06 October 2017