Recent Evening Meetings

The BTS holds monthly evening meetings from September to June, generally on the third Thursday of the month. Unless otherwise stated, the meetings are at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). Additional meetings are arranged by the BTS Young Members, by regional groups and as joint meetings with other societies. BTS Members can view recorded lectures on the ICE website for the first three months after the meeting. Thereafter the recordings are available for all to view and links are added below.


BTS January Meeting: Challenges of the Design and Construction at the Gotthard Base Tunnel, Switzerland

The 57 km long Gotthard Base Tunnel, a 9 billion Euro project, is the world’s longest railway tunnel. The main Breakthrough took place on the 15th October 2010. All 151.8 km of the overall system are complete and the tunnel has been in operation since 2016. This lecture will provide some feedback from the construction difficulties and lessons learnt from the two 30 km long southern TBM drives from Bodio to Faido under overburden reaching a maximum of 2,400 meters. The project overcame a major fault zone, squeezing ground conditions and rock bursts. The TBM was blocked by a collapse, and had to cross water-carrying faults with rock and water temperatures reaching 48°C. The project also needed to cross weak and potentially risky zones like the Piora Basin. A section of the tunnel was enlarged after squeezing rock nearly blocked the TBM drive. Expected water pressure exceeding 160 bars required suitable pre investigation equipment. A waterproofing system with sheet membrane was installed along the whole tunnel length and extensive testing was carried out. The presentation will give a general overview and go deeper in selected topics.


Yves Boissonnas, Head of Tunnelling, EMEA, SIKA

Joint BTSYM / ICE London Graduates and Students Committee lecture on Fire Safety

BOOKING IS REQUIRED. Please follow the link in the flyer. The lecture focus areas include: The legal requirements and duties imposed on employers and those responsible for managing fire safety. Guidance and reference documents. General Fire Precautions – What should be considered. Ensuring compliance and following best practice. The consequences of failure – offences and prosecution. Preplanning – Emergency Response.


David Harold, London Bridge Associates

Joint BTS/MinSouth meeting. Salt Mining in Cheshire

Winsford Salt Mine: From Drill and Blast to Automated Continuous Mining, will explore the historic method of drill and blast; focusing on the move from continuous miners to the automation of the miners and the benefits of automation. Alternative Mine Uses (AMU’s) which are in place to reduce the weather effect of a winter de-icing business will also be discussed.


Gordon Dunn, Compass Minerals UK

BTS February Meeting: Joint BGA/BTS meeting: Water and Tunnelling – lessons from 40 years of interesting problems.

David Hartwell was awarded the 13th Skempton medal by the BGA in 2018. In this lecture he will share his experience of ‘Water and Tunnelling - Lessons from 40 years of Interesting Problems’ The talk will highlight David’s experience in finding solutions to problems with groundwater associated with shafts and tunnels over the last 40 years. Along the way lessons were learnt, many of which do not appear in groundwater or soil mechanics text books. Two major projects will be highlighted: the Storebaelt tunnels in Denmark including pressure relief for the cross passages and the MOSES offshore dewatering scheme. The second major project was the recovery of the flooded Docklands Light Rail tunnel under the river Thames; freezing was considered but the scheme adopted included wells in the river and horizontal wells drilled from within the tunnel.


David Hartwell

BTSYM February Meeting: Bangkok Orange Line Metro Project

The Bangkok Orange Line metro project comprises approximately 4 km of twin bored tunnels, three stations boxes, three ventilation shafts and a cut and cover tunnel. Arup are working on the detailed design of this project for a Thai D&B contractor called Italian-Thai Developments. This talk will cover several interesting technical aspects of the project, as well as an overview of life on an assignment in Thailand.


Paul Bailie, Arup

BTS March Meeting: Elan Valley Aqueduct

The dams and conduits that form the Elan Valley Aqueduct system were built by Birmingham City Corporation between 1893 and 1904.The presentation will cover the history of the Victorian built Elan Valley Aqueduct with a look at some of the original construction techniques.The reasons why the new tunnels had to be built will be explained and the speakers will also describe the three tunnelling projects.


Ken MacGregor, Barhale; Paul Dennison, Severn Trent Water

BTSYM April Meeting: Ottawa Light Rail

The confederation line in Ottawa comprises 15 stations and stops; its centrepiece is a 2.5km long tunnel with three underground stations below downtown Ottawa. The mined construction method for the stations was chosen in order to minimise the impact to the surface. The underground stations are located directly adjacent to existing, sensitive and sometimes historic buildings requiring detailed studies of risks during construction and risk mitigation measures. This presentation will look at the detail behind the design and subsequent construction of three large caverns at shallow depth and twin track running tunnels in rock.


Thomas Schwind, Technical Director, Dr. Sauer & Partners

BTS April Meeting: Harding Prize

Presentations by the two finalists of this year's Harding Prize. The winner will be announced at the end of the meeting. The Harding Prize competition is named in honour of Sir Harold Harding, the founding Chairman of the BTS. The competition is open to young engineers aged 33 or under. Original paper submitted must address aspects of tunnelling which are considered of interest to the tunnelling industry, with the winning paper selected by a judging panel.


Eugene Kwan Lok Wong (University of Cambridge) presenting his paper: Deformation of framed structures due to tunnelling – a rational and practical assessment approach; and Sandeep Singh Nirmal (RITES Ltd), presenting his paper: Design of steel fiber reinforced concrete segment with curved radial joints

Meetings held in previous years can be found in the Evening Meetings Archive.