DIECI truck mixers in the heart of the London underground
Conceived to support the UK capital’s overcrowded underground system, the 136-km Crossrail network will connect Reading to Abbey Wood and Heathrow Airport to the Eurostar high-speed line.
Work on the project began in 2009 and each tunnel consists of two parallel shafts. The excavations, carried out by ‘mechanical mole’ tunnelling machines, are progressing at a rate of 100 metres per week and the tunnel gangs work in shifts around the clock. The series of underground worksites are always active and the pace of work is unrelenting: as soon as a new section of tunnel is carved out, the walls are lined with concrete to strengthen them and prepare for the subsequent application of prefabricated coverings.
Just as with other challenging projects of similar scale in terms of manpower and machinery, the versatile Dieci range has provided dumpers and truck mixers suited to the needs of this project and to working in the hostile conditions of the tunnels.
DIECI DUMPERS: AGILITY AND STRENGTH IN ACTION
Among the infrastructure still under construction, the most challenging part is the 21 km segment that traverses the city, where space is limited and the terrain treacherous.
It is in these narrow and muddy tunnels 40 metres under the capital that we find Dieci dumpers hard at work.
Dieci dumpers are agile, easy to handle and therefore more versatile in a round-the-clock worksite with limited space to manoeuvre.
Thanks to their high load capacity (up to 8 cubic metres), Dieci dumpers can quickly carry excavated material to the conveyors, preparing the tunnel for subsequent reinforcement works.
DIECI TRUCK MIXERS: RELIABLE AND POWERFUL
As soon as the area is cleared of inert materials, the concrete sprayers take over with the task of lining the walls. To save time, the concrete is drawn directly from the truck mixers.
The work of the sprayers is never-ending, because the construction site is fully operational 24 hours a day. The vehicles used here must therefore be extremely strong and robust.
Our truck mixers, like all DIECI construction vehicles, have been designed for heavy-duty and intensive use; the models in the range have a production capacity of 2 to 5 cubic metres of concrete per hour. This gave engineers a choice of models capable of keeping up with the advance rate of the eight tunnel boring machines.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Crossrail network is 136 km long and is being built by around 8000 workers of 26 different nationalities. The project cost is £15 billion, although this is not a definitive total.
To give you some idea of the project’s convoluted history, Crossrail was originally devised back in 1941 by the great urban planner Sir Patrick Abercrombie, who had it included in the main reconstruction plan for London in 1944, towards the end of the Second World War.
However, the project was officially greenlit only in 2007 by the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown and received Royal Assent in 2008, and it was not until 2009 that work actually commenced. The eastern section entered operation in May 2015, while the western section is currently under construction.
Sir Patrick’s idea was to equip the English metropolis with a subway capable of supporting the strategic role that the city would play after the end of the war. Today the project has become something more: by linking to the Eurostar line, the rail network can transport passengers from London to Paris via the Channel Tunnel.