Engineering geekery ahead. You’ve been warned.
Been watching The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway about building CrossRail through London and it just puts my job and my perception of “difficult” to shame. The whole manner of undertaking civil engineering in London with its tiny streets, non-stop and uninterruptible traffic, its myriad subterranean utilities and tunnels, and historic buildings and infrastructure makes me embarrassed to put myself in the same category as them.
I was blown away by how they had to thread a TBM through the middle of Tottenham Court Rd tube station, 35cm (that’s 14 inches Murica) below the escalators running down to the platforms and 85cm (34 inches) above the Northern Line tunnels, all while the station was still in operation! 35 bloody centimetres! In my job, people tend to get nervous if digging an open trench within 3m of a utility, never mind blindly steering a 1,000 ton tunnel boring machine less than arm’s reach from 150-year old railway tunnels, 30m below grade. Now that might keep me awake during the week!
Highly recommend watching it on the iPlayer, if you have an inner nerd.