A specialist tunnel boring technique was deployed by Northumbrian Water to avoid disrupting the 200-year old Bowes Railway Company Haulier site near Durham.
A specialist tunnel boring technique has saved a historic railway line in North East Durham. New Civil Engineer reports that the method was deployed by Northumbrian Water to avoid disrupting the 200-year old Bowes Railway Company Haulier site near Durham.
The earliest part of the railway was designed by George Stephenson and opened in 1826. It was eventually 15 miles long when it was completed in 1855. The six-mile middle section had very steep gradients and was worked with ropes. It was built to carry coal from the Durham pits to the Tyne at Jarrow.
Northumbrian Water have recently built a reservoir nearby at Springwell Village, and they needed to pass new pipes underneath the rail line to supply water to homes in South Tyneside and Wearside. They used the innovative tunnelling technique to avoid disruption to the rail line, which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
Northumbrian Water’s project manager Richard Johnston said: “As with many projects where we are creating a new water pipeline, there are points where the route needs to cross busy roads or other areas that provide a challenge and require sensitivity.”
He added: “A site with the significance of the Bowes Incline Railway SAM is no different, so we wanted to approach it with extreme delicacy and tunnelling provided the opportunity to make the crossing without disturbance to this wonderful piece of heritage.”
“And it was great to be able to blend the past with the future by having pupils at Springwell Village Primary School involved in the naming of the tunnel boring machine. We’re sure we could not have chosen a better name than Georgia and are hugely grateful for their inspiration.”
As part of the tunnel boring process, two shafts were created at either side of the railway, and a tunnelling rig was driven between them.
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