The temporary exhibit, curated by HS2’s construction partner in the West Midlands Balfour Beatty Vinci (BBV), explores the history and technological advances in tunnelling, alongside the story of HS2’s construction. It is designed to help young people understand the engineering complexity of building a high-speed railway.

The Thinktank exhibition includes a replica model of TBM Dorothy

Thinktank is opposite the site where HS2’s Curzon Street Station will be built.

The exhibition, which is open until January 12, includes a replica model of Dorothy, the 2,000 tonne TBM used to excavate the Warwickshire tunnels. There is also a range of interesting and fun facts about HS2’s tunnelling programme, aimed at inspiring the next generation of engineers.

BBV head of stakeholder and communities Shilpi Akbar said the exhibition showed how the consortium was helping to deliver HS2 in the Midlands.

“Visitors can learn about how we’ve tunnelled underneath ancient woodland in Warwickshire, and the three-and-a-half mile tunnel currently under way between Water Orton and Washwood Heath in Birmingham,” said Akbar.

“By bringing this highly skilled and innovative work to new audiences, we hope it inspires the next generation of tunnellers and engineers. That’s exactly the type of legacy we want to leave for this region.”

During the half-term holiday, from October 30-November 3, BBV construction workers and engineers, and representatives from the supply chain, will lead a series of gallery talks.

BBV will also join forces with Thinktank to deliver interactive science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) workshops from late November, as part of the exhibit’s wider programme. The sessions will involve local schools, giving pupils the opportunity to learn more about the HS2 project, as well as industry career paths.

Thinktank museum manager Laurence Butler said the exhibition would highlight a new range of STEM careers “as well as show how modern technology and engineering allow a tunnel to be bored, reinforced and made ready for use, all by one advanced – and very large – piece of machinery”.

This week HS2 also announced that using rail to deliver tunnel ring segments to the West Ruislip Portal site in Hillingdon has removed one million miles of lorry movements from roads.

Since February, HS2’s London tunnels contractor, Skanska Costain Strabag joint venture (SCS), has received deliveries of the tunnel ring segments by freight train rather than road – an option that became available once the two TBMs, Sushila and Caroline, had been launched and space to access the rail head on site became available.

Pacadar UK, based at Thamesport on the Isle of Grain in Kent, is manufacturing the tunnel ring segments for the Northolt Tunnel West, producing 60,000 segments, which will form 8,400 rings, for 8km of twin-bored tunnel.

More than 120 trains have completed the journey between the Isle of Grain and West Ruislip, with an average of five trains per week, each delivering 144 segments. Rail delivery is projected to reduce the carbon impact by 2,250 tonnes.

Early next year, the second and last pair of TBMs will be launched for the Northolt Tunnel. Strabag will manufacture the segment rings for the Northolt Tunnel East at a new facility in Hartlepool. From there, the 35,000 segments will also be transported by rail.