Work begins on Sydney Metro tunnel from Chatswood to the Harbour

Published: 15 Jan 2019

Sydney Metro’s third mega tunnel boring machine (TBM) has now started tunnelling, marking the next stage in delivering the new 31km metro twin tunnels below the centre of Sydney and deep under Sydney Harbour.

TBM Wendy has started digging the 6.2 kilometres of tunnel from Chatswood to the edge of Sydney Harbour at Blues Point.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it is another major metro milestone.

“Yesterday we saw a metro train complete its first full journey on the entire length of the Metro Northwest railway line, and now we’re starting work on another key stage of the project,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Wendy joins TBMs Nancy and Mum Shirl, the mega borers which launched last year and are now tunnelling from Marrickville towards the CBD.

“With two more machines due to start work this year, the borers will build 31km of Sydney Metro tunnels between Marrickville and Chatswood, including the first rail tunnels under Sydney Harbour.

“Major infrastructure projects like Sydney Metro are only possible because of the strong economic management of the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government.”

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said Sydney Metro will have the capacity to run trains up to every two minutes and will be a game changer for the city’s transport system.

“Sydney Metro will free up capacity across the rail network, and these tunnel boring machines will help deliver it as quickly as possible,” Mr Constance said.

“The borers are underground tunnelling factories, mechanical worms designed to dig and line the tunnels as they go.”

Wendy is one of five TBMs that will excavate 5.9 million tonnes of rock – enough to fill about 940 Olympic swimming pools.

So far, TBMs Nancy and Mum Shirl have excavated 1.3 kilometres of tunnel and 114,000 tonnes of crushed rock from Marrickville on the 8.1 kilometre journey to Barangaroo.

The TBMs are about 150 metres long – or longer than two Airbus A380s – and specially designed for Sydney’s geology to cut through our hard sandstone.

Wendy and another TBM will tunnel towards the new Sydney Metro stations being constructed at Crows Nest and North Sydney before being retrieved at a temporary construction site at Blues Point.

A fifth machine has been specially designed to deliver the twin tunnels under Sydney Harbour.

The TBM has been named after Wendy Schreiber, a volunteer at Bear Cottage – the only children’s hospice in NSW and long standing charity partner for the Sydney Metro tunnelling contractor John Holland CPB Ghella.

On major tunnelling projects around the world, underground workers look to Saint Barbara for protection and, as such, machines that work underground are traditionally given female names.

Sydney Metro opens in the city’s north west in the second quarter of this year – with 13 metro stations, 4,000 commuter car parking spaces and 36km of new metro rail.

Metro rail is being extended into the Sydney CBD and beyond to Bankstown – in 2024, Sydney will have 31 metro stations and a 66km metro railway.

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