A third mega tunnel boring machine (TBM) has commenced work on the section of the Sydney Metro tunnel between Chatswood and Sydney Harbour. It marks the next phase in the construction of new 31km-long metro twin tunnels deep below the city.
TBM Wendy has started digging the 6.2km of tunnel from Chatswood to the edge of Sydney Harbour at Blues Point.
NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said it represents a major milestone for the Metro project.
“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.”
NSW 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 1.3km of tunnel and 114,000 tonnes of crushed rock from Marrickville on the 8.1km journey to Barangaroo.
The TBMs are about 150m long – longer than two Airbus A380s – and designed for Sydney’s geology to cut through 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 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 is set to have 31 metro stations and a 66km metro railway.