Four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) in Sydney’s CBD and inner suburbs are being removed, following the successful completion of twin 30km metro railway tunnels.

TBMs Nancy, Mum Shirl, Wendy and Mabel have completed their work and are in the process of being removed from Sydney’s underground.

Their massive cutterheads, each weighing 100 tonnes, are being lifted out of construction sites in four military-style operations.

This marks the successful completion of major tunnelling construction under the centre of city and the city’s north on the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project.

Each 1,100 tonne tunnel boring machines tunnelled through sandstone and shale under Sydney at an average rate of 167 metres per week.

Each TBM had 38 teeth-like cutters made from hardened steel. Each cutter weighed 250 kilograms and had to be changed about every 10 days because of the forces of tunnelling.

Altogether, each TBM went through about 200 cutters.

TBMs Nancy and Mum Shirl each built 8.1km tunnels from Marrickville to Barangaroo, passing through new metro stations at Waterloo, Pitt Street and Martin Place.

They started tunnelling in October and November 2018 respectively, and arrived at Barangaroo in December 2019 and January 2020.

TBMs Wendy and Mabel each built 6.1km tunnels from Chatswood to Blues Point, passing through new metro stations at Crows Nest and Victoria Cross.

They started tunnelling in January 2019 and February 2019, arriving at Blues Point in November 2019 and December 2019.

A330-tonne tower crane extracted TBMs Nancy and Mum Shirl from Barangaroo as they were disassembled and returned to the manufacturer.

The TBM tunnelling under Sydney Harbour, Kathleen, is currently completing the second metro railway tunnel under the harbour.

1 Comment
  1. Anjuli 8 months ago

    As a member of the community living and working right next to both the Sydney Metro and the Light Rail projects, I must say that the contrast between the two is like chalk and cheese, especially after the shamozzle the light rail project ended up being.
    Well managed, minimal impact on neighbours and fantastic communications with the community.
    Hats off to the project managers and their effecting each stage with military precision.

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