Hard at work supporting 24/7 HS2 tunnelling operations

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A select few members of the SER team – Paul Morrison (General Manager), Angela Slack (Hire Desk Co-ordinator) and Patrick Williams (Service Manager) – were recently given a guided tour of a section of HS2 in the West London borough of Uxbridge where our machines are working.

On arrival the first hurdle to navigate was the complexities of entering a site where there’s a difference between being booked in as a guest or a visitor. What’s the difference you ask? Well, guests don’t get a parking place, visitors do! Who knew? Note to self for further visits! Once safely parked up, in the overflow car park, the guests were met by their customer who provided an overview of works being carried out.

An SER Volvo A30G dump truck being loaded up at the HS2 site in Uxbridge
An operated SER Volvo A30G dump truck being loaded up.

Our machines on the HS2 site are being used to handle material excavated by two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that are working away at a speed of 15m per day creating a link from West Ruislip to Old Oak Common.

All the earth excavated by Sushila and Caroline, as the TBMs are known, is transported on a conveyor belt system to a treatment area where it is dried and mixed with lime. The treated material is then loaded by Volvo L260H shovels into Volvo A45G articulated dump trucks (ADTs) and transported to on-site Sustainable Placement Areas, avoiding the environmental impact of moving material off-site using HGVs.

SER are supplying a range of operated machines to the site including Volvo L180H and L260H loading shovels along with Volvo A30G and A45G dump trucks. As the TBMs hardly ever stop, the loading shovels are required to work 24/7 meaning proactive maintenance is essential to ensure the reliability and up-time of the machines.

SER Volvo L260H and L180H loading shovels parked up at the HS2 site in Uxbridge
Volvo L260H and L180H loading shovels enjoying the sunshine on a rare break in operations.

Our operators have taken this on board and play their part looking after the shovels meticulously. A good working relationship with the customer is also crucial so that the SER team can fully support the work at this section of HS2 and the customer can ensure their targets are met on time and on budget.

Paul, Angela and Patrick arrived back at the HS2 offices to be greeted by an ice cream van passing through security and into the visitors car park – clearly Mr Whippy hadn’t been booked in as a guest! It would’ve been rude not to…

SER employees Paul Morrison, Angela Slack and Patrick Williams with ice creams at the HS2 site in Uxbridge
The hard working team visiting our hard working machines.

Thanks to Shaun McKenzie of DUO Operations for giving up his time and providing an informative tour of the site.

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