National Grid story about our Olympic Park tunnels ahead of Tokyo Olympics

Revisiting our Olympic Park tunnels ahead of the Tokyo Olympics

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics kicking off this week, we’re celebrating our own Herculean projects that took place a little closer to home; the construction of two colossal tunnels to provide power to the London 2012 Olympic games.

The tunnel boring project at London’s Olympic Park started back in 2005, seven years before the London 2012 Olympics were due to commence. Here are some facts and figures about this gold-medal worthy project:

  • Each of the tunnels measures 6km in length, running beneath Stratford in East London

  • The project took a total of three years to complete

  • Four tunnel boring machines, each measuring 4.15m in diameter, were required to complete the work

  • 250,000 cubic metres of spoil was removed by the machines (the majority of this was re-used in the earthworks for the park)

  • The £200 million deal to bore the tunnels was won by Murphy, a north London based construction company

Since 2012, our tunnel boring machines have definitely not been idle. As part of the £1bn London Power Tunnels project to rewire South London, ‘Edith’ – who measures 3.64m and weighs in at a hefty 140 tonnes – is currently boring a tunnel underneath South London, with ‘Christine’ set to follow shortly.