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Fantastic tunnels and ingenious engineering: New gallery and exhibition opens at London Transport Museum
New gallery: Digging Deeper explores the history of tunnelling from Brunel in the 19th century to modern day Crossrail.


LONDON.- An exciting new gallery permanent gallery and temporary exhibition opened at London Transport Museum on Friday 23 March as part of the national programme to celebrate Year of Engineering 2018. Digging Deeper uncovers the history of tunnelling from the early 19th century and The Secret Life of a Mega Project brings the story up to date with revelations about Crossrail, Europe’s largest infrastructure engineering project.

New gallery: Digging Deeper
Featuring a giant audio-visual tunnel projection and a life-size recreation of the tunnelling shield that helped create the world’s first electric Tube railway in 1890, visitors can lose themselves in the stories of remarkable engineering feats. The gallery explores lasting legacies of London’s tunnel pioneers and how their principles are still relevant today:

• Marc Isambard Brunel (1769 to 1849), the prolific Anglo-French engineer who developed the first tunnelling shield which was used to build the Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel under a river anywhere in the world.

• William Henry Barlow (1812 to 1902), had the original idea of using a tubular cutter to dig tunnels in 1862. He patented a basic shield concept, and set up the company to build a tunnel to link the London Bridge station area and the Tower of London, providing another much-needed way to get across the river, 30 years before Tower Bridge.

• James Henry Greathead (1844 to 1896), was employed by Barlow to turn his idea into a practical machine, which was used to build the Tower Subway in 1870- the world’s first tube tunnel. Like the Thames Tunnel before it, the Subway was a commercial failure but it led to Greathead’s biggest achievement, the Greathead Shield that dug the first electric railway in 1890 - the City and South London Railway. Similar machines were used for the whole of the central London Tube network. over the next 50 years. The next generation of machines that dug the Victoria line in the 1960s grew into the Jubilee line and Crossrail Tunnel Boring Machines, or TBMs, of today.

New exhibition: The Secret Life of a Megaproject
The Crossrail project is more than a railway – creating jobs and homes in the capital as well uncovering the city’s hidden history and bringing 10 major works of world-class art to Londoners. Months before the new railway opens, discover the lesser-known stories about this underground megaproject with rare prototypes, never-before-seen construction footage in a 270 degree immersive cinema, interactive maps and stories from a new generation of engineers who are building the Elizabeth line.

Sam Mullins, Director of London Transport Museum, said: “Our new galleries and exhibitions give a fascinating insight into the history of major infrastructure projects that most of us use every day but now take for granted. They will also help us to challenge our visitors’ perceptions of engineering, raise awareness of the skills and mindsets involved in becoming an engineer, and the wide variety of engineering related career options available.”

Sir Terry Morgan, Chairman, Crossrail said: “The Crossrail project is not only constructing the Elizabeth line, which will redefine travel in the capital, it is creating jobs, new homes, uncovering the city’s long forgotten history and introducing 10 major new works of public art. This fantastic exhibition brings these stories to life in a celebration of the impact a major infrastructure project can deliver.”

Later in the year an additional permanent gallery will open. Future Engineers will invite visitors to find out if they are a dreamer, planner or fixer – all qualities required for tomorrow’s engineers, as they experience a series of interactive encounters and try their hand at solving transport conundrums. The new gallery seeks to inspire an interest in STEM subjects and highlight the creativity, social value and sheer range of jobs available in engineering.

The new galleries, displays and family fun activities are part of Year of Engineering 2018 which raises the profile of engineering amongst 7 to 16 year-olds and encourages young people to consider a career in engineering.





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March 24, 2018

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