Image shows a crane raising the big TBM.

Home for the holidays – The tunnel boring machines for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension arrive at launch site

Metrolinx is as excited as a kid on Christmas morning to see two iconic pieces of the tunnel boring machines arrive at the tunnel launch site after their journey across the Atlantic Ocean. Metrolinx News has images from the big moment, check them out.

Schwanau. Antwerp. Hamilton. And now they’ve made it to their final destination in Mississauga, at the tunnel launch site for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension.

Last week, we saw the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) arrive at the port in Hamilton and get unloaded from a massive ship.

Unloading one of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension cutter heads from the Federal Delta.
Unloading one of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension cutter heads from the Federal Delta. (Photo provided by FMT Hamilton)

To make their way to the site at Renforth Drive and Commerce Boulevard, they were loaded onto trucks and driven very carefully along the 60-kilometre route.

The cutter heads, each weighing about 65 tonnes and measuring about 6.5 metres in diameter, are so large they need a police escort to get to the site safely.  

Image shows the TBM on a truck.
With a police escort, the TBMs make the journey to the site. (Metrolinx photo)
Image shows a crane raising the big TBM.
Offloading at the site. (Metrolinx photo)
Image shows a crane lifting the TBM.
The lift and lower was a heavy one, that took a long way to get to the site. (Metrolinx photo)

What happens in 2022?

The rest of the TBM parts, travelling from Europe in shipping containers, are scheduled to arrive in January. Once all the parts are on site, the team will start the process of assembling these machines, a process that takes months.

Once they are assembled, they’ll be lowered into the ground to begin the big dig.

The team has been working hard to get the launch shaft ready for these massive machines – that very large hole is 80 metres long, 20 metres wide and 17 metres deep. That’s big enough to hold about 10 Olympic-size swimming pools worth of water.

Launch shaft for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension
Launch shaft for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. (Metrolinx photo)

The TBM naming contest for the twin diggers for this project also closed this week.

Stay tuned in early 2022 for the announcement of the winning names.

For the latest project information about the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, visit metrolinx.com/eglintonwest or follow the project on Twitter.

Story by Kimberly Murphy, Metrolinx senior advisor, Subway Program