Father Timothy Gorham of Ealing Abbey and Benedict’s Parish Ealing led the blessing ceremony.

The priest blessed both portals of the twin bored tunnel where TBMs Emily and Anne are being prepared for launch in the new year. He also blessed two statues of St Barbara which will be placed at the tunnel portal entrance, to protect the underground tunnellers as they work.

The tunnel being constructed is the Northolt Tunnel East, a 5.7km tunnel which will form part of the 13.5km twin bored Northolt tunnel, running from Victoria Road in North Acton to West Ruislip. The tunnel will ultimately carry HS2 services between Old Oak Common station and outer London when the line is completed.

Herrenknecht EPBMs Emily and Anne will complete their journey in Greenford. Skanksa Costain Strabag (SCS) joint venture completed the lift of the components for the two 1,700-tonne machines at the Victoria Road Crossover Box site in November.

The 13.5km-long tunnel is being built by four TBMs in two phases – Northolt Tunnel West and Northolt Tunnel East. TBMs Sushila and Caroline were launched in November last year.