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“La Guaragua”, one of three tunnel boring machines that ACCIONA is using to construct the Quito metro, reaches its third station and beats world record


The future Line 1 of the metro will have a 22.6 km tunnel and 13 new stations, in addition to the two already constructed by ACCIONA.

Three tunnel boring machines are working simultaneously on the excavation works.

The tunnel boring machine (TBM) christened “La Guaragua”, one of three machines that ACCIONA Construction is using to carry out the works on the Quito metro in Ecuador, reached its third station (La Carolina) on 21 August, after excavating 1,450 metres in 39 days, advancing at around 37 metres per day.

The TBM set a new world record on the construction of the Quito metro after excavating 1,131 metres in 30 consecutive days in the section between Iñaquito and La Carolina stations.

“La Guaragua” will now undergo maintenance work for around 15 days before continuing to drill towards the next station, which it is expected to reach within a month. The next section to be excavated by this machine covers 780 metres towards La Pradera station.

José Carlos Aguilar, tunnel manager, said that the new record was thanks “to the great team we have, an expert team, and above all its perseverance. Beating a record in 30 days is proof of the whole team's determination”. ACCIONA trained the teams that operate the TBM.

The mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas, said that a real size prototype of one of the train carriages that will travel along the future Line 1 of the Quito metro was now on show in the city. The mock-up, which will be on public display so that people can interact with it and learn about the project, is based on the actual specifications of the new trains.

The future Line 1 of the city’s metro will consist of a 22.6 km tunnel and 13 new stations, in addition to the two already constructed by ACCIONA. ACCIONA Construction is using three TBMs to carry out the works, which are excavating simultaneously. The works are expected to be completed in April 2019 with the line coming into operation in the second half of the year.

The three tunnel boring machines, “La Guaragua”, “Luz de América” and “La Carolina”, have already drilled 5,077 metres of tunnel, lined with 3,385 rings, meaning that the tunnelling is now 26% complete.

Overall, the project is 40% complete, with 43 active works sites among the stations and supplementary works. The structural civil engineering work of 7 of the 15 stations has now been finished (El Labrador, Jipijapa, Iñaquito, La Carolina, La Magdalena, Solanda and Morán Valverde).

This metro line is the first part of a new public transport system for Quito that is intended to modernise the infrastructure of Ecuador’s capital.


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