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The largest rail tunnel tunnelling shield will go to Lodz

tarcza drążąca w Łodzi

About 115 meters long and more than 13 meters in diameter – this is what a large TBM shield looks like, which will hollow out the railway tunnel in Lodz. PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. confirmed the preparation of the machine at the manufacturer. The shield will contribute to the creation of new possibilities of rail travel through Lodz and more efficient travel in Poland and Europe. The investment is co-financed from OPI&E.

On Thursday, PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. on Thursday, received works related to the TBM machine, whose task will be to drill one of the diameter tunnels in Lodz. The presentation of the machine took place at its producer, Herrenknecht company in Schwanau, Germany.

– Currently, PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. has been provided with specialist equipment, two TBM discs for the project related to the construction of tunnels in Lodz, i.e. the tunnelling of the Lodz Railway Junction and the creation of new travel opportunities in Poland – said Arnold Bresch, member of the Board of PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A.

The over 1,560-tonne shield with a diameter of 13.04 metres will hollow a two-track tunnel from the starting chamber between Odolanowska and Stolarska streets, through the place of underground stops Lodz Polesie and Lodz Śródmieście, to Lodz Fabryczna station. The tunnel will be 3 km long and 12.7 metres in diameter. It will be made by the largest TBM machine that has ever worked in Poland. So far, the largest diameter (12.6 m) has had a shield, which has been used to drill the road tunnel under the Dead Vistula in Gdansk.

The shield elements will arrive by ship

After the acceptance of the machine, the next stage is its disassembly and transport of individual elements to Lodz. The first parts can reach Poland in March. The biggest challenge will be to transport the undisassembled bearing and the seat in which it is seated and four adjacent engines. Due to the large size of the shield, some of its elements will be transported to Poland by ship (first by the Rhine River, then by the Baltic Sea) and then at night by trucks to Lodz. The transport of the machine parts will require checking and preparing the roads. A specialist company will be responsible for the whole process. The transport of all elements is expected to be completed in April.

The shield located in the front of the machine rotates 3 times per minute. Its task is to shred the ground. The material is continuously extracted to the surface. The hollow space is enclosed. A daily TBM can drill about 10 m of tunnel.

The starting chamber for a large TBM shield is being built in Lodz between Odolanowska and Stolarska streets. According to the contractor’s announcements, the chamber is to be completed in June. Then the tunnelling will begin.

A smaller shield already in Lodz

Earlier, all the elements of the first shield reached Lodz, which will drill 4 single-track tunnels with a diameter of 8.5 metres and a total length of approx. 4.5 km from the turnout chamber at Wlokniarzy Avenue to railway line no. 15 towards Lodz Zabieniec and Lodz Kaliska. The smaller “mechanical mole” weighs about 650 tonnes, has a diameter of 8.76 metres and is 95 metres long. Its parts were transported exclusively by land, using trucks.

During the works, the contractor will monitor the impact of the investment on the nearby buildings on an ongoing basis. Among other things, the technical condition of the buildings located nearby will be checked and vibrations will be measured.

The construction of the cross-town tunnel is a continuation of the works started with the construction of the Lodz Fabryczna station. The investment will provide a faster connection through the city centre and will also contribute to the creation of an effective system of national interregional connections covering the region of central Poland. Thanks to the construction of the tunnel, the Lodz Fabryczna station from the final station will become a through station. The journey time will be shortened and both regional and long-distance trains will be able to travel through the very centre of Lodz – on the east-west axis (through Lodz Widzew, Fabryczna and Kaliska stations) and on the north-south axis (through Lodz Widzew, Fabryczna and Zabieniec stations).

New stops will facilitate communication

In the tunnel, trains will be able to travel at a maximum speed of up to 100 km/h. The project will also include two stops – Lodz Polesie and Lodz Srodmiescie, which will be integrated with public transport and will make it easier for the inhabitants of the agglomeration to get to work and school every day.

The project entitled “Unlocking the Lodz Railway Junction (TEN-T), Stage II, Lodz Fabryczna Section – Lodz Kaliska/Lodz Zabieniec” is co-financed under the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme. The value of the project is PLN 1,764,333,383.70, of which the EU co-financing is PLN 1,434,417,385.13. The design and construction of the tunnel is performed by a consortium: Energopol Szczecin and Przedsiebiorstwo Budowy Drog i Mostow from Minsk Mazowiecki. Completion of the investment is planned for the end of 2022.

Investment in figures

The largest elements of a large shield that digs the tunnel:

  • Main drive – 180 tons
    Heaviest shielding segment – 153 tonnes
    Cutting wheel disc – 91.5 tonnes
    Cross rector – 64.5 tons
    Beam conveyor – 42.5 tons
    Feeder – 41.5 tons

The tunnel in Lodz in numbers:

  • 7,5 km – total length of the cross-town tunnel
    3 km – length of the double track section
    4.5 km – total length of four single-track sections
    13.04 m and 8.76 m – diameters of two TBM machine discs
    1560 tons – weight of a larger machine
    650 tons – weight of the smaller machine
    10 m – estimated daily progress of the excavation
    25 m – the greatest depth at which the tunnel will be located

The project is co-financed by the European Union from the Cohesion Fund under the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment.

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