HS2 tunnellers trapped by fire in Chilterns

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Tunnellers digging HS2’s Chiltern tunnels were trapped for 13 hours aft a occurrence broke retired connected Tuesday night.

HS2 Ltd has launched an probe into the occurrence adjacent the Chiltern Tunnel South Portal tract successful Rickmansworth, conscionable wrong the M25.

The occurrence was connected a conveyance that transports workers into the passageway to enactment connected the tunnel-boring instrumentality (TBM). While transporting 3 workers who were connected their mode to a nighttime displacement successful the TBM, Cecilia, the car caught fire. The workers removed themselves safely from the car and attempted to extinguish the fire, but the motor exploded astir 1.6km from the TBM.

The 3 workers followed information procedures and sheltered wrong Cecilia’s information chamber. Once the occurrence was extinguished and the concern nether control, they were removed safely from the tunnel. Reportedly, they were wrong the information enclosure for a afloat 15 hours, from 7pm connected Tuesday nighttime until 10am connected Wednesday morning.

Emergency services attended the scene, but nary injuries were reported. The TBM was untouched by the fire.

The South Portal tract is being managed by Align, a associated task of Bouygues Travaux Publics, Sir Robert McAlpine and VolkerFitzpatrick.

A spokesperson for HS2 said: “We tin corroborate that the exigency services attended an incidental astatine the HS2 Chiltern Tunnel South Portal tract Tuesday evening. An probe into the incidental is ongoing. All unit are harmless and accounted for.”

HS2 Ltd volition springiness a further update erstwhile its probe into the incidental has been completed.

Designed specifically for the geology of the Chilterns, TBMs Cecilia and Florence (which is boring the northbound tunnel) are 2,000-tonne, 170-metre-long, self-contained underground factories, which excavation the tunnel, enactment it with factual partition segments and grout them into spot arsenic they determination forward.

Last month, HS2 Ltd’s committee minutes revealed that a antithetic wellness and information metric is being deployed on the task to that utilized by astir of the industry. HS2 Ltd claims its method of measuring accidents amended reflects the existent concern connected site.

In August 2021, HS2 Ltd called successful the bosses of each the tier-one contractors moving connected the task owed to concerns astir an summation successful accidents, but the obstruction radical maintained that this higher incidence did not correspond to the 200 per cent emergence successful the magnitude of work.

In October 2021, the Unite national claimed determination had been a spate of superior injuries on sections of the HS2 enactment being delivered by the Skanska/Costain/Strabag associated venture.

Meanwhile, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced successful March that it would increase the fig of inspections carried retired successful Birmingham in the coming months, arsenic enactment is acceptable to roar crossed projects, including HS2.