School Kids On Site for Launch of TBM

Oxford youngsters meet the ‘Tunnel Muncher’

 Cowley schoolchildren get hands-on with water engineers

School sees progress of £6m mains replacement project

Four Oxford schoolchildren had a very 'boring' day when they christened Active's  tunnelling machine helping to lay a new water main in Cowley.

The quartet, from St Francis C of E primary school on Horspath Road, close to the site of the work, took part in a competition organised by Optimise & Active Tunnelling, Thames Water’s partners in the operation, to name the machine and design artwork used to decorate it.

And the winning youngsters – eight-year-olds Zack Marsland and Hamnah Chaudhry, Alexa Bell, nine, and Nadeem Shah, 11 – plus teaching assistants Claire Shah and Laura Marsland spent the morning seeing Active Tunnelling’s machine in action.

“It was brilliant,” said Nadeem, “especially when we went inside and sat in the driver’s seat.”

Mum Claire said all the youngsters in the school took part in the competition, part of Thames Water’s programme of community engagement connected to the £6m project. “We had a drop-in session with Optimise and we felt it was important the children got involved,” she added.

“In the end, Rachel Groves from Optimise and Active Tunnelling director Linda Johnson chose the winning names: Oxams Beast, Tony Tunnel Muncher, Super Scary Spike and Muncher Smash.”

Above: Linda Johnson(ATL) and Rachel Groves with the four winners

Caption: Claire, left, and Laura with, left to right, Hamnah , Nadeem
Alexa  and Zack with their adopted tunnel boring machine

Caption: Nadeem Shah and mum Claire inside the tunnelling machine, with TBM driver Sean Angell, of Active Tunnelling


·        The work to lay a new 2km section of water main began in June and is expected to be completed in September. The boring machine is currently excavating a tunnel under Oxford’s Eastern By-Pass, minimising disruption to traffic