First mega borer arrives for Sydney Metro big dig under city centre

The first of five mega tunnel boring machines has arrived to extend Sydney’s new metro railway deep under the city centre.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance confirmed tunnelling will start before the end of the year.

“The arrival of these giant machines is a key milestone in the Sydney Metro project,” Mr Constance said.

“The sheer size of each tunnel boring machine is hard to comprehend – at around 150 metres long it’s the equivalent length of two Airbus A380 jets nose to tail.

“They’re also extremely powerful and have been specially designed for Sydney’s geology to cut through hard sandstone.”

Each Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) is arriving at the Marrickville launch site in eight shipping containers and 23 other separate pieces so big they don’t fit into a container.

These pieces include a 100 tonne cutter head and a 128 tonne section of the round steel tunnelling chamber, each delivered on truck trailers with 68 wheels.

The 1,100 tonne TBM will be assembled and tested before it is launched later this year. It will tunnel to the new Waterloo Station, then continue under the Sydney CBD via new metro station sites at Central, Pitt Street, Martin Place and on to Barangaroo Station.

“Sydney Metro will change the way we get around Sydney,” Mr Constance said.

“It opens next year in the city’s north west and extends into the city in 2024, when Sydney will have 31 metro stations along a 66 kilometre metro railway line. The metro system will have the ability to move more people than the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Tunnel combined.”

This is the first time in Australian history that five TBMs have worked on a transport infrastructure project, delivering new 15.5 kilometre twin metro railway tunnels from Chatswood to Sydenham, including under Sydney Harbour.

Two TBMs will dig 6.2 kilometres from Chatswood to the edge of Sydney Harbour. Two will travel 8.1 kilometres from Marrickville to Barangaroo. The fifth TBM has been specially designed to deliver twin one kilometre long tunnels under Sydney Harbour.

Each machine is expected to tunnel an average 120 metres a week.

New vision and images of the first TBM arriving

File tunnelling vision