Subway tunnel-boring “subterranean wonder” to be buried under Grand Central Station

Nadine Bells
Good News

Fourteen storeys below New York's Park Avenue, a 200-tonne serpent-like drill sits in silence and will remain there for archaeologists of the future to discover.

After four years of burrowing out subway tunnels for a new train station beneath Grand Central Station, the massive drill is retiring.

Why not dismantle the tunnel-boring machine rather than abandon it underground?

The Spanish contractor overseeing the project made the call, taking time and money into account. A scrap sale wouldn't be worth it.

To remove the drill — which weighs as much as two whales and stands as tall as four men — would cost $9 million, one expert quoted.

The New York Times describes the underground scene:

"A recent visit to the cutter's future crypt revealed a machine that evokes an alien life form that crashed to earth a millennia ago. Its steel gears, bolts and pistons, already oxidizing, appeared lifeless and fatigued. A wormlike fan, its exhaust pipe disappearing into the cutter's maw, was still spinning, its drone not unlike a slumbering creature's breath."

Infrastructurist reports that buried equipped, while new to Manhattan, is more frequent in international tunnelling projects.

For this machine, its final resting place will be somewhere between 37th and 38th streets on Park Avenue.

An official funeral this week will include "a ceremony in which the cutter will be sealed off by a concrete wall, and the chamber filled with concrete." The resulting "Han Solo-style" concrete tomb will serve as a support structure for the tunnel.

"It's like a Jules Verne story," Michael Horodniceanu, the authority's chief of construction, said of New York's new "subterranean wonder."

(Getty Images)