- 23. 01. 2015
In observance of a time-honored tradition, a statue of Saint Barbara, the patron saint of all miners, has been placed in the portal of a new tunnel that will be bored in Ejpovice, Czech Republic. Attended by top executives from the Railway Infrastructure Administration and the Metrostav and Subterra corporations, the ceremony also included the christening of a special, more than 110-meter long TBM S-799 tunnel boring machine, before it begins cutting through the Homolka and Chlum hills to bore the two longest tunnels in the Czech Republic. Each will measure more than four kilometers in length.
The statue of Saint Barbara – the traditional patron saint of miners, and according to more recent tradition, also the patron saint of every large tunnel construction project – was consecrated by the Bishop of Pilsen, Mons. František Radkovský. Afterward, it was placed in a niche in the tunnel portal, where it will remain until construction work ends.
The ceremony also included the christening of the boring machine, which was named Victoria. The name has been chosen to honor the history of the Pilsen region, and to symbolize the success of the many years of planning and preparation, and the overcoming of numerous hurdles that preceded the launch of the project.
Victoria is the younger sister of Tony and Adele, the shields used to bore the V.A Extension of the Prague Metro. Manufactured by Herrenknecht in Schwanau, Germany, Victoria weighs some 1,800 tons and boasts a cutter head with a diameter of nearly 10 meters. The tunnel boring technology (TBM) deployed in Ejpovice is among the most modern tunnel construction methods. With speed and safety being the principal advantages, TBMs are currently deployed to bore approximately 80% of all tunnels in all parts of the world.
"We are glad that, following years of delays, the modernization of this important railway section is now finally under way. We are honored to be able to take part in the project together with the Subterra Company," said Metrostav's CEO Pavel Pilát. "I am confident that this project, like others, will underscore the profound expertise of our engineers and workers as regards the deployment of modern TBM technologies, whose benefits have been well proven during the extension of the Prague subway," he added.
The Pilsen-Rokycany railway line is part of the core trans-European transport network, as well as of the third domestic railway transit corridor, which leads from Prague to Pilsen and Cheb, as far as the Czech-Germany border. Once the entire line has been modernized, traveling from the Czech capital to Pilsen will take less than an hour. Worth 3.9 billion crowns, the project will be executed by the Metrostav, Subterra, and MTÚ Rokycany-Pilsen Consortium, where Metrostav and Subterra are the lead and regular members, respectively. The unique tunnel in Ejpovice will account for about half of the cost.
"The key part of the project will be the construction of the tunnel in Ejpovice under the Homolka and Chlum hills. There will be two single-track tunnels interconnected by cross-passages. The length of the two tunnels from the east entry portal to the west exit portal will total approximately 4,150 meters," said Pavel Surý, CEO of the Railway Infrastructure Administration, describing the most interesting aspects of the modernization project. The new tunnel will reduce the railway line's current length by more than six kilometers.
"The project will shorten travel time and will improve the safety of railway operations. In addition, passenger comfort will be enhanced, and the maximum travel speed will increase to as much as 160 kilometers per hour. In the future, trains are expected to travel as fast as 200 kilometers per hour," stated Surý, talking about the future parameters of the railway line.
Project Title Rokycany-Pilsen Railway Line Modernization
Removal 35,143 m
Installation of UIC 60 Rails 28,132 m
Installation of S 49 Rails 1,338 m
Installation of Switches 8
Tunnel Length Two 4,150-meter tunnels
Additional Technical Parameters
New and Modified Railway Bridges 16
Overall Length of Bridges 199 m
Retaining and Lining Walls 731 m
Noise-reduction Barriers 7,120 m
Platform Edge Length 850 m
New Overhead Power Supply Lines 32,100 m
New Switch Safety Units 10
New Double-track Automatic Block System 16,794 m
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