ICE tunnel exhibition to open window into the hidden world of civil engineering

Opening in May, the new exhibition promises to offer visitors a highly interactive experience featuring a host of digital content, virtual reality and a learning journey for younger visitors.

Part of the Tideway project, the Lee Tunnel is the deepest tunnel ever constructed under London. Image © Matthew Joseph
Part of the Tideway project, the Lee Tunnel is the deepest tunnel ever constructed under London. Image © Matthew Joseph
Thames Tideway is one of the largest and most important infrastructure projects currently taking place in London
Thames Tideway is one of the largest and most important infrastructure projects currently taking place in London

The Ferrovial sponsored Tunnel Engineering Exhibition takes place from May to November 2017 and follows the globally successful Bridge Engineering Exhibition which attracted over 8,000 visitors in its first three months.

It will take place in ICE's Infrastructure Learning Hub, the definitive learning and knowledge resource centre that focuses on the engineering achievements of past, present and future ground breaking projects.

The exhibition opens a window to the hidden world of civil engineering beneath our feet and showcases the history of tunnels. Visitors will get an understanding of the hugely complex planning that goes into these marvels of engineering which enable them to perform simple tasks like flushing a toilet, turning on a light switch or travelling even a short distance.

The exhibition will also help visitors to understand the benefit that tunnels deliver to society allowing the efficient transport of not just people but energy and waste.

Taking visitors on a timeline journey, the exhibition will begin with nature's original tunnel engineers, the creatures whose very existence relies on their ability to build tunnels. It will draw on the innovation of the great engineers of the past who learned from nature.

Highlighting the modern day engineering projects that are currently underway, the exhibition will feature projects such as Crossrail, Europe's biggest construction project and Belfast's state-of-the-art stormwater tunnel constructed in 2009. International projects are also featured, including the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world's longest rail tunnel connecting Zurich and Milan. It will also look ahead at the innovations that might be developed by tomorrow's engineers to cope with population growth and increasing demand on our precious resources.

The exhibition will once again be a highly interactive experience featuring a variety of digital content, virtual reality units, physical displays and models and a learning journey for younger visitors to explore and discover the marvels of our hidden world. The exhibition will be a fully immersive day out and will include quizzes, interactive fact sheets, challenges and simulators.

The exhibition highlights nature's original tunnel engineers, such as shipworms, the creatures whose very existence relies on their ability to build tunnels
The exhibition highlights nature's original tunnel engineers, such as shipworms, the creatures whose very existence relies on their ability to build tunnels

It will also be accompanied by a host of online content, including videos and imagery designed to extend understanding of tunnelling and give a real flavour of what's in the exhibition at One Great George Street.

Visitors are expected to include members of the public as well as teachers, parents, children and young people who want to learn more about engineering as a subject and as a possible career choice.

The exhibition will feature a host of renowned tunnelling experts who have worked on globally revered projects such as Crossrail and the Channel tunnel. Their understanding of current tunnelling techniques will bring huge insight into the enormous challenges that must be addressed throughout the lifetime of a project. Visitors will be able to see, learn and understand the massive technical challenges that involve digging underground and see how engineers have overcome seemingly insurmountable geological, logistical and safety difficulties.

The exhibition, which opens on 15 May, has also attracted sponsorship from UNPS, who are sub sponsors of the exhibition alongside Topcon who are Virtual Reality sponsors, and CEMAR who are Augmented Reality Sponsors.

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