Giants appear again – Crosstown project’s hero tunnel boring machines unearthed

As we’ve taken readers from end to end at every stop and station along Toronto’s Crosstown light rail transit system, we’re constantly adding updates on the progress being made. Today, we’re getting a glimpse of buried warriors – the two massive digging machines previously left resting below tons of earth during the project.

Mechanical giants – Dennis and Lea – have waited, far out of sight, since 2016.

And now, they are seeing the light of day – or at least an artificial spotlight – again.

Crews have unearthed two tunnel boring machines – each of them, 400 tonnes of digging power – from under Eglinton Avenue, as work continues on Toronto’s light rail transit project.

A tractor pulls dirt from a large boring machine.

Under Eglinton, excavation has uncovered some buried treasure – the two remaining tunnel boring machines! They will make their way out of the ground soon to make way for station construction.

During their work below Canada’s largest city, the machines became rock stars, with residents coming out to see them moved into, and in some cases pulled out of, the Crosstown tunnels.

The brutes are 10 metres long and each weigh as much as 58 African elephants.

A total of four tunnel boring machines – named Dennis, Lea, Don and Humber – have been used to create more than 10 kilometres of twin-tunnels (so actually, more than 20 kilometres through earth and stone). Each took six people to operate, and combined, they moved enough muck to fill the Scotiabank Centre to the height of the CN Tower.

Boring graphic

Don and Humber were previously removed from their resting place.

Now, Dennis and Lea will be taken from their underground lair, so Eglinton Station can be completed.

With attention back on them, boring is rather interesting again.