Two monsters are about to start tunnelling under the capital – and at 650 tonnes each, once they've started going, there won't be much anyone can do to stop them
Yep: TfL has unveiled the boring machines which will dig the £1bn Northern Line Extension. The two machines, built by French firm NFM Technologies, are each 100m long and 5.2m wide. Once they get going, they'll run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, stopping only for scheduled maintenance.
Once it's done, the Northern Line extension will bring Battersea and Nine Elms within 15 minutes of the West End.
As they move forward, excavating almost 30,000 tonnes of earth, 20,000 pre-cast concrete segments will be put in place behind them.
Instead of taking the earth away on trucks, it'll be loaded onto barges and ferried to Goshems Farm in East Tilbury, Essex, to turn a former landfill site into farmland.
While Crossrail's eight boring machines had cutesy names like Phyllis, Ada, Jessica and Victoria, the Northern Line machines have yet to be named: TfL said local schoolchildren will find monikers for them.
"The TBMs will make their way to London later this year and in early 2017 will start powering their way under south London to create the first major Tube extension since the Jubilee line in the late 1990s," said Nick Brown, London Underground's managing director.
"Their manufacture is a significant step forward in the project which, once complete, will help us to support jobs, homes and growth in this area and keep pace with London’s rapidly rising population.” Be afraid. Be very afraid…