不一样的生活 我在伦敦地下做34;鼹鼠34;

2019年10月31日 英语美文 暂无评论



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Ive never been given a company car but I do drive something very special at work. Im in charge of a “mole”, one of the giant tunnel-digging machines that are burrowing under London for the Crossrail project, linking the east and west of the city. Each mole is as long as 14 London buses and weighs 1,000 tons, yet is incredibly precise. It has to be to cut a path between the capitals subterranean maze of sewers, Tube lines and underground rivers.
Im 44 and have worked in tunnel digging since I was 16. My uncle ran a boring company and he gave me my first job, on a sewer project under Sheffield. In those days tunnelling was hard labour with shovels and picks. Now I sit at a control panel and it isnt physically demanding at all. Id rather pick up a rattlesnake than go back to the old way of working.
There have always been plenty of opportunities in my line but because its underground, people dont always realise. Ive helped dig miles of tunnels over the years, including the Channel Tunnel rail link and a tunnel that carries the electrical power supplies underneath the Olympic Village in London.
在我这个行当里,总是有很多机会,但由于是在地下,人们不会总注意到。多年来,我帮助挖掘了数英里长的隧道,包括英法海底铁路隧道(Channel Tunnel rail link)以及伦敦奥运村(Olympic Village)地下的输电线路隧道。
For the Crossrail project I drive one of the latest tunnel-boring machines (TBMs). The one that I run is nicknamed Jessica and the power that drives it forward is equivalent to the force needed to lift more than 2,900 London taxis. Despite that, you barely feel anything when it is running. You do hear a hum from the cutter head, which revolves just two or three times per minute - but we are crawling forward at 100m a week.
I work 12-hour shifts, sitting in a control room about 10m back from the cutting head. As the machine goes forward, earth is pushed behind and carried back down the tunnel. Nearly all the soil from the 26 miles of tunnels will be reused, including 4.4 million tons of clay being shipped out to a new RSPB reserve in the Thames Estuary.
我每12小时换一次班,我会坐在一个距离挖掘机刀头大约10米远的控制室里,随着掘进机的前行,挖出的土方被推到后面,然后沿着隧道运出去。总长26英里的隧道所挖出的几乎所有土方都会得到再利用,包括440万吨泥土被运送到皇家鸟类保护协会(RSPB)位于泰晤士河口(Thames Estuary)的新保护区。
Jessica also carries the pre-cast concrete segments of tunnel wall. These are pushed into place by a hydraulic ram, then cemented in with instant grout that takes a few minutes to set. The machines are so advanced that we even have our own kitchen area on board. If we had had these TBMs to build the Channel Tunnel in the 1980s, it would have cost a fraction of the price.
My work gets me into some pretty unusual places. Last year I was digging 14m beneath the Blackwall Tunnel, knowing that people were driving their cars just above me. Now Im on a two-mile stretch between Stepney Green and Pudding Mill Lane. We should finish this section by the end of 2014 - the first Crossrail trains are due to start running in 2019.
我的工作把我带到一些非常不同寻常的地方。去年,我在黑墙隧道(Blackwall Tunnel)下方14米处挖掘隧道,知道人们正在我的头顶上方驾驶着汽车。如今,我在连接Stepney Green和Pudding Mill Lane的两英里隧道段进行掘进作业。我们应会在2014年底完成这个隧道段。Crossrail的列车将在2019年开始通车。
I spend most of my day looking at a bank of screens, getting all the information I need on progress and direction. Its a far cry from when I started tunnelling 27 years ago. Then we used line of sight and a length of string for guidance. Jessica is laser-guided and I navigate via a GPS system. Despite her size, I can adjust the direction by millimetres with the push of a button.
You make friends on a project like this, so camaraderie within the team is only natural. Well have had three years together by the time the work is done, then Im off to the next job - hopefully the new underground rail system in Doha for the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
你会在这类项目中结交朋友,团队内部的同志情谊是自然而然产生的。在任务完成前,我们将一起度过3年时间,接着我会被派往下一个项目:希望我会被派到多哈为承办2022年卡塔尔世界杯(World Cup)而新规划的地铁项目。
Im usually so tired at the end of my shift that all I want to do is call my family in Manchester and go to bed. We have an internal phone system underground but, obviously, theres no mobile phone reception. However, one of the good things about working underground is that you never have to worry about the weather.
There is always a danger of hitting something but Ive never had an accident. The planning has been meticulous - theres very little margin for error under London. The tunnel will eventually pass 1.5m above the Tubes Northern Line. In my job, it doesnt get much closer than that.
在地下工作总会出现撞到什么东西的危险,但我从没发生过事故。规划一直非常细致,在伦敦地下,误差容许量很小。这条隧道最终将在伦敦地铁北线(Northern Line)隧道上方1.5米处通过,在我的职业生涯里,这差不多是最小的间隔了。