Tunnelling our way to safety: Heathrow’s baggage teams reach record safety milestone
Wednesday 23, June 2010
A GBP 250m project to create a network of underground baggage tunnels beneath Heathrow Airport has become the safest tunnelling project ever recorded.
For more than a year, a team of over 250 people have been working underneath the world’s busiest international airfield to create a baggage tunnel that will move passengers' bags more quickly between Heathrow's terminals.
At times, the team was working only metres from the Heathrow Express and London Underground lines and directly underneath the four million litre capacity fuel farm. This week, the project recorded 1.7 million hours with no reportable accident.
Steven Morgan, BAA’s capital director, met with the team this week to thank them for their hard work in achieving this complex task in a professional and exceptionally safe way.
Steve Morgan, BAA’s capital director said: "To improve our passengers' experience of Heathrow, we are undertaking a £4.8 billion investment programme.
"On the ground, the most visible project is Terminal 2, a new home for our Star Alliance airlines and their passengers. However, we are just as busy under the ground, building a network of tunnels that will speed passengers' bags from one to terminal to another or simply from check-in to the aircraft.
"This is a remarkable achievement and could only have been made possible through the professionalism and passion of the teams involved. I am proud of the safety record on this project, and wish the team well as they complete an important piece of work that will oil the wheels of Heathrow's network and provide a better service to our passengers than ever before."
The project is called the Post Terminal 5 Transfer Baggage System (PT5TBS) and involved tunnelling underneath the world’s busiest international airfield to link Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 and onto Terminal 1.
Over 250 services were negotiated during the course of tunnelling with the team at times only metres from the Heathrow Express and Underground lines and working directly underneath the fuel farm. The fit out of the baggage system within the tunnel is now underway and the next phase of construction is the Western Interface Building (WIB) and Terminal 3 integrated baggage (T3IB).
Dr. Chris Millard, baggage programme director, said: “The ultimate aim of the programme is to integrate each terminal’s baggage systems and to transport all transfer bags underground using the same technology as in Terminal 5.
"This will mean bags are tracked for the full length of their journey, making the transfer experience quicker and more efficient. The scale of the project is vast and demonstrates the commitment Heathrow has to making the passenger experience better.”
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