Sydney Metro has made a historic breakthrough with the first mega tunnel boring machine (TBM) tunnelling through to the new Pitt Street metro railway station.
TBM Nancy broke through a wall of rock at the site of the future Pitt Street Station, about 20m below the streets of Sydney.
Nancy, one of five TBMs, is named after transport pioneer Nancy-Bird Walton OBE, who was the first female pilot in the Commonwealth to carry passengers and the founder of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association.
Since launching from Marrickville October last year, Nancy has excavated about 600,000 tonnes of rock – enough to fill 14 Olympic swimming pools.
At Pitt Street Station, it has taken tunnel builders John Holland CPB Ghella nine months to remove about 92,000 tonnes of sandstone to build the underground station cavern in preparation for TBM Nancy’s arrival.
The 150m long TBM will now undergo maintenance before being re-launched towards the future Sydney Metro station at Martin Place then on to Barangaroo.
New South Wales Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, said, “TBM Nancy has already tunnelled six kilometres since launching in October and today has made a spectacular historic entrance into the heart of the city.
“Nancy is one of five tunnel boring machines busy excavating to help deliver more metro rail services as quickly as possible.
“Once the next stage of this game-changing project opens there will be turn-up-and-go Metro train services to 31 stations along a new 66km railway.”
TBM Mum Shirl is a few hundred metres behind Nancy, building the twin tunnel along the same route.
All the crushed rock from Sydney Metro tunnelling will be reused, with some of it going to help build the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.