Patrons of TBM “Ida” visit the BBT construction site

As part of the school’s internal competition "A name for the TBM", the name IDA was chosen in June 2022 for one of the two tunnel boring machines (TBM) in the "Sillschlucht-Pfons" construction lot.

"A year ago, our principal received a call from the Brenner Base Tunnel asking if we would like to take part in choosing a name. She immediately said yes. We all did some research together and at first we only knew that it should be a female name," the children of the 3rd grade of the Wipptal elementary school in Navis told us enthusiastically.

Since Ida's cutting head had already been set up, it was a good opportunity to reward the children and their class teacher and principal with an impressive visit to "their" tunnel boring machine. When the minibuses picked them up from school, our well-prepared guests were already beaming in joyful anticipation of the day to be spent in the tunnel. Safety first: Equipped with helmets and high-visibility vests, the group was driven directly to the BBT construction site "H41 Sillschlucht-Pfons" in the Ahrental valley, from where IDA will start its more than eight kilometre long journey underground at the end of June.

To get in the mood for the "TBM" topic, the children were not only allowed to colourfully paint a tubbing ring for Ida in the tubbing ring factory, which is located directly on the construction site area, but they were also given a tour of the plant, marvelling at how such a precast concrete element is manufactured.

In a good mood, everyone then set off for the highlight of this special excursion, namely the Ida tunnel boring machine in the assembly chamber in the Brenner Base Tunnel, which is located 1,000 meters below the earth's surface. After a downhill drive through the 2.2 km long Ahrental access tunnel and another 2.5 km of level tunnel, there she was, finally in sight: IDA

Full of anticipation, our guests made the short walk to the TBM's cutting head. A BBT expert from the construction site explained interesting and extraordinary facts about the machine to the children and answered their many questions. The children learned that Ida's destination is even located in their home community of Navis.

As souvenirs, photos were taken of our group of visitors in front of the almost 10.5-meter cutting head, giving a very good idea of the difference in size between man and machine. The timing of the visit was ideal, because Ida's cutting head was moved to the rock face just a few hours later to start assembling its backup structure.The time in the tunnel just flew by. On the return journey through the BBT and across the construction site, everyone got an unforgettable impression of the activity and the atmosphere in the tunnel as well as a glimpse of the construction site and its technical facilities, before heading to the construction site office for a joint snack to round off the day. Even though everyone would have liked to stay, we had to make our way back to Navis, knowing that we would soon meet again at Ida's start-up party.