Industry Infrastructure, Major Projects & Infrastructure, NSW, Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Track Construction, Train Stations, Tunnelling

Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport hits another milestone

Mega tunnel boring machines (TBMs) Catherine, Eileen and Peggy have completed their historic journeys to build metro rail tunnels for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project.

TBM Peggy achieved the project’s penultimate tunnelling breakthrough last Friday after breaking through at the newly named Bradfield Railway Station site, which was previously known as Aerotropolis Station.

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TBM Peggy’s breakthrough follows TBM Eileen’s breakthrough at Bradfield on 29 May and completes major tunnelling work to construct the 5.5-kilometre tunnels from Airport Business Park, underneath the new Western Sydney International Airport, to Bradfield.

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King spoke about the project.

“I am delighted to see the wonderfully-named Catherine and her TBM friends bringing us closer to a world-class transport option to the new Western Sydney International Airport and major job hubs, including the new Aerotropolis,” she said.

“This milestone is a critical step towards connecting the suburbs that will grow around this brand-new metro line, giving Western Sydney the opportunity to attract more jobs and housing opportunities.

“This city-shaping metro line will service travellers and airport workers with major population centres like Penrith, Parramatta and the Sydney CBD via St Marys.”

At the opposite end of the alignment, TBM Catherine was first to wrap up its tunnelling journey on 20 May. The TBM has built a 4.3-kilometre tunnel from Orchard Hills, under the M4 Motorway and the Great Western Highway to St Marys.

TBM Marlene is working hard to complete the final 230 metres of tunnel for the project and is expected to break through at St Marys in the coming weeks.

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen said the milestone is a huge achievement for everybody involved.

“More than 550 workers spent many months deep below ground and across the site to drive these borers across the finish line,” she said.

“It’s a phenomenal milestone for Sydney’s second airport rail link.

“While tunnelling is almost finished on the Western Sydney Airport line for now, we are planning the public transport links of the future.

“Our business cases are underway to plan more future rail links in Western Sydney as these communities continue to grow.”

The TBMs have worked around the clock up to seven days a week to build the tunnels and have excavated 1.8 million tonnes of material, enough to fill 293 Olympic pools, and the installation of 68,360 concrete segments to line the new tunnel walls.

The focus of the mega project will now turn to the delivery of six new metro stations at St Marys, Orchard Hills, Luddenham, Airport Business Park, Airport Terminal and Bradfield.

Major station construction is already underway at St Marys, with the first large concrete pour taking place on 22 May to build a 13-metre by 22-metre slab that will form part of the base to support the multi-level station above.

Orchard Hills, Luddenham and Bradfield station sites are also being prepared for major station construction to commence in the coming months.

Work inside the tunnels will continue and involve completing the construction of 39 cross passages and preparing for track laying.

Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport is targeted to open in line with the start of operations at the new Western Sydney International Airport.