Start-up ceremony for TBM “Ida” in the Sill Gorge-Pfons construction lot

With the miner’s saying “Glück auf” in its luggage, the second of the two “mega drilling machines” on Austrian project territory now also set off on its approximately 8.4 km long journey.

Ida will drive the western main tube of the Brenner Base Tunnel in a southerly direction, while her twin sister "Lilia" has already been on the move in the eastern main tube, also towards the Brenner Pass, since the beginning of May. BBT SE and the contractor "ARGE H41 Sillschlucht-Pfons" today welcomed numerous guests of honor to the TBM's opening ceremony in the Ahrental project area near Innsbruck.

CEO Judith Engel, ÖBB Infra AG
, set off the starting volley for the TBM "Ida": "The work on the Brenner Base Tunnel belongs to the master class of engineering. Equally challenging are issues of logistics, rail technology and rail operations. ÖBB is convinced that the effort will be worthwhile. In a few years, the Brenner Base Tunnel will make a key contribution to the turnaround in traffic."

Anton Mattle, Governor of the Tyrol
"The Brenner Base Tunnel is not only the largest railway project in Europe, but for the citizens in our valleys it is also the hope for a sustainable shift of heavy goods traffic from road to rail. Today we are celebrating an important milestone, the start of the Ida tunnel boring machine in the construction lot H41 Sill Gorge - Pfons. I would like to thank all those involved and wish an accident-free construction phase. However, in the interest of an effective modal shift, I also urge a rapid completion."

BBT SE CEOs Martin Gradnitzer and Gilberto Cardola
"We are proud that exactly one year after the official start of tunnelling work on this construction lot, mechanical driving is now also picking up speed. In tunnel construction, only perseverance and above all stamina help, because the deepest point of the BBT-tunnels is around 1800 metres."

Pat Cox, EU European Coordinator for the Scandinavian-Mediterranean TEN-T Corridor (Scan-Med)
"As EU "Scan-Med" coordinator, I would like to convey the strategic importance of your work from an EU perspective. The BBT and its access lines have received more than two billion euros in EU funding to date. This is more than any other transport project before. Just last week, another grant of €700 million from the Connecting Europe Facility was approved for the BBT as part of a call for European co-financing. This is further proof that the BBT remains a priority for the EU".

At the beginning of this year, the formal inspection of the two TBMs took place at the manufacturer on site, as part of the factory inspection test and approval. Subsequently, the individual parts were delivered in elaborate heavy, special and night transports. The dismantled parts of the TBM were taken over at the construction site in the Ahrental valley. Experienced fitters reassembled the machines over a period of several weeks and made them ready for operation.

The children of the 3rd grade of the Navis elementary school present "their" tunnel boring machine, which they named "Ida". Click here for the video

Key data on TBM Ida
Nominal drill diameter: 10.37 m
Cutting head driving power: 4,550 kW
Max. operating torque of the cutting head drive: 26,551 kNM
Total weight (TBM with backup structure): about 2,420 tons
Weight of the cutting head: 263 tons
Total length (TBM with backup structure): about 160 metres
Number of transports: 130
Number of components (TBM with backup structure): about 80,000

Since mid-January 2022, the consortium "ARGE BBT construction lot H41 Sillschlucht-Pfons", which consists of the companies Implenia Österreich GmbH, Implenia Schweiz AG, Webuild S.p.A. and CSC costruzioni sa, has been carrying out the works on this lot. These works are expected to last until summer 2028; the contract sum amounts to about 651 million Euro.