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Press release

Tunnel boring machine “Wilma” is ready for the Brenner Base Tunnel

Vienna/Schwanau, 08.03.2024 – With a total weight of 2,680 tonnes each and a length of 180m, the two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) “Wilma” and “Olga” are the heavyweights of tunnel construction. BBT SE, PORR and MARTI (the H53 consortium) have just completed factory acceptance of the first of the two machines at manufacturer Herrenknecht in Schwanau. From mid-March, Wilma will begin its journey to the largest construction section of the Brenner Base Tunnel in Austria.

“The Brenner Base Tunnel is a once-in-a-century project and extremely challenging from a technical point of view. H53 Pfons-Brenner is the largest construction lot in Austria. The two tunnel boring machines each have to cover a distance of around 7,500m through hard rock” said PORR CEO Karl-Heinz Strauss. Double-shield TBMs are classed as very powerful and particularly suited to high technical demands.

Both machines will head towards Innsbruck with a drive power of 4,550 kW: While Wilma builds the west tunnel, Olga will create the east tunnel. They will each produce a 10.37m wide tunnel tube (excavation diameter) and more than 600,000m3 of excavated volume – a genuine tour de force.

The first machine, Wilma, will be transported to the construction site in individual parts from mid-March to the beginning of May, with the first heavy haulage taking place after Easter. Factory acceptance of the second tunnelling machine is set for April. The tunnelling work itself will begin in autumn.

The names of the two “tunnel giants” are actually the result of a cooperation between BBT and RegionalMedien Tirol, which asked its readers to suggest names. Around 400 people submitted suggestions. In addition to Wilma and Olga, the TBMs Flavia, Ida and Lilia are also underway in the construction lots of the Brenner Base Tunnel.



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Melanie Manner Press spokeswoman