Tunnelling for the Sydney Metro project has begun, with the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will deliver the twin new railway tunnels launched last week.
TBM Nancy, one of five machines that the help build the 31 kilometres of between Marrickville and Chatswood, was officially launched by NSW premier Gladys Berekiklian and transport minister Andrew Constance.
“Sydney Metro is at the centre of the NSW Government’s transformation of public transport which will give people more choice in how they get around Sydney,” Berejiklian said.
“Today marks the start of the huge task of digging twin tunnels under the city, delivering Sydney’s new world-class metro railway and building a stronger, better future for the people of NSW.
The TBM has been named Nancy in honour of transport pioneer Nancy Bird Walton OBE, an Australian pioneer aviator, the first female pilot in the Commonwealth to carry passengers and the founder of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association.
Nancy and another TBM will tunnel 8.1 kilometres from Marrickville to the new Sydney Metro station sites at Waterloo, Central, Pitt Street, Martin Place and on to Barangaroo.
The TBMs are about 150 metres long and have been designed specifically for Sydney’s geology to cut through the hard sandstone underneath the city.
“These machines are underground factories, mechanical worms designed to dig and line the tunnels as they go so that Sydney Metro can be delivered as quickly as possible,” Constance said.
“Nancy is specially designed to cut through our city’s unique sandstone and shale and will tunnel an average of 120 metres a week.”
Two TBMs will dig 6.2 kilometres from Chatswood to the edge of Sydney Harbour, while a fifth machine will deliver the twin tunnels under Sydney Harbour.