The Sophiaspoor Tunnel is an important part of the "Betuwe Route" running over 160 kilometers from the Port of Rotterdam to the German border. The tunnel crosses under the Rotterdam-Dordrecht rail line, the A16 highway, the "Rietbaan" and "De Noord" rivers as well as the A15 highway. The Betuwe Route provides rail goods traffic with a rapid, modern east-west axis into the hinterland.
The railway tunnel (2 x 4,200 meters) for the goods traffic was bored by the S-150 Mixshield of a 9,785-mm diameter. In contrast to conventional shields which bore and excavate alternatively, S-150 was provided with a number of individually controlled thrust cylinders. Again in contrast to conventional machines, this machine concept allowed rings to be synchronously built during the actual advance. Tunnelling no longer needed to be interrupted for ring building - on some sections this concept permitted up to 50 percent higher tunnelling performances. In 210 minutes, six meters were continuously advanced without any difficulty (equivalent to four rings). An appropriate design of the tube layer resulted in an advance of twelve meters between the tubing extensions.
On the Betuwe Route, a Herrenknecht EPB Shield was employed for the Botlekspoor Tunnel and a Herrenknecht Mixshield was employed for crossing under the Pannerdensch Kanaal.