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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ken Livingstone is Boring

Mayor Suspended sign seen at Russell Square Tube StationSheriff Ken is boring on about Carla

No Ken hasn't been suspended again for likening an Evening Standard reporter to a Nazi or calling a US diplomat a "chiselling little crook". This time he started the £5m, 540-tonne boring machine "Carla", that will be used to connect the DLR's King George V station to Woolwich's town centre.

The Docklands Light Railway Woolwich Arsenal station is going to be beside the mainline station and is due to open in early 2009.

Ken said: "All over London we are starting to see the work starting on the massive investment programme in our public transport system, and the Woolwich Arsenal extension will be a vital new transport link that will regenerate the local area and play an important role during the 2012 London Olympic Games".

Here's what's planned for the area according to Transport for London's press release:

  • Improved transport links, connecting Woolwich to London City Airport in five minutes, Canary Wharf in 19 minutes, Stratford in 20 minutes, and Bank in 27 minutes. In the peak period, trains could leave every four minutes
  • Supporting the regeneration of Woolwich and the southern Royal Docks, through transport which can boost the creation of new jobs, homes, shops and leisure facilities along the route
  • Direct interchange with main line services on the North Kent line, the planned Greenwich Waterfront Transit scheme, over 100 bus routes, eight Underground lines and coach, taxi and riverboat services

    Carla the DLR boring machineAnd "here comes the science bit":

    "Two tunnels will be bored to allow trains to run in both directions. The tunnelling will take 15 months to complete, during which time the boring machine will run at depths of up to 35m under the River Thames.

    It will surface in Woolwich Arsenal in the Autumn before being removed and reinstalled at the launch chamber for its second crossing.

    The tunnel boring machine (TBM) is six metres in diameter - as tall as a two-storey house.

    The TBM will remove 104,000 cubic metres of material - enough to fill around 1,100 double-decker buses or 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools

    The TBM and material removed will be transported via Thames' river barges, thus reducing the impact on London's roads, particularly those in the centre of Woolwich
    ."

    Ian Brown, Managing Director of TfL London Rail and Chairman of DLR, said: "With DLR passenger numbers forecast to increase from current levels of over 50 million to 80 million by 2009, the link will help accommodate demand and play a critical role in ongoing success."

    In case you're wondering how the boring machine got its name. Apparently, the tradition in tunnelling projects is for the tunnelling machine to be given a woman's name and this one "was named after AMEC's site receptionist, Carla Murphy, whose name was drawn in a lottery".

    That's a dubious honour (and also a funny way for the woman to have got her name in the first place). I'm not sure I would want my name to be associated with a large noisy boring thing, but I suppose we're lucky the receptionist wasn't called Chantelle!


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