Four instead of six hours for the train ride between Berlin and Munich - this is the time savings the new railway line between Erfurt and Leipzig/Halle and the construction and extension projects between the federal capital and the Bavarian capital will bring about. The almost seven-kilometer-long twin-bore Finne Tunnel will be the largest tunnel structure along the Erfurt and Halle/Leipzig section. To master the challenging geological conditions, Herrenknecht designed two high-tech machines that successfully completed tunnelling four and seven months ahead of schedule.
The first 1,500 tunnel meters of each tube were particularly challenging, since they were characterized by the Finne Fault consisting of hard and extremely weathered rock and soft ground formations. Since the groundwater table was present up to 50 meters above the crown mechanized tunnelling was only possible in closed mode using a Mixshield. The remaining approx. 5.5 kilometers were charaterized by considerably easier ground conditions. Herrenknecht engineers solved this problem with two Mixshields that could be converted to open mode after completion of the first 1.5 kilometers.
Jobsite workflows and TBM schedules were coordinated in a way to allow the disassembly of all slurry components of the first TBM for a reuse on the second TBM that was launched at a later point of time.
Herrenknecht Formwork GmbH delivered the moulds for segment production. The tunnel belt conveyor for open-mode tunnelling was manufactured by H&E Logistik GmbH. A VMT GmbH navigation system kept the TBMs on course.
Breakthrough along the northern tunnel section was scheduled for September 30, 2009. The first Mixshield reached its target after 16 months and 6.8 kilometers of tunnelling - four months ahead of schedule - with best weekly performances of 202 meters. Along the southern section the second TBM was even faster. Breakthrough occurred on February 10, 2010 - seven months ahead of schedule.