Metro Tunnel TBMs dismantled

The last of the Metro Tunnel Project’s four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) completed its work on the project in May this year, breaking through at Town Hall Station in the Melbourne CBD. 

After finishing tunnelling at Town Hall Station, each machine went through a process over several weeks to dismantle it into its components and bring them to the surface. 

The back-up gantries, including mechanical and electrical components, were transferred back through the completed tunnels to Anzac and Arden stations, where they were dismantled  and each component and piece of equipment assessed for reuse. 

The cutterheads – too big to remove from the stations intact – were cut into pieces using an oxyacetylene torch, and the pieces sent as scrap steel to be recycled. 

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Disassembling TBMs at Town Hall Station 

Watch: Alice breaks through at South Yarra

The twin eastern tunnels between Anzac Station and South Yarra are now complete, with the second tunnel boring machine (TBM), named after wartime medical hero Alice Appleford, breaking through into the South Yarra cavern on Saturday.

With this section of the tunnel now completed, the TBMs will be transported back through the tunnel and begin digging towards the CBD with their cutterheads transported above ground.

Once reunited, the TBMs will be reassembled and then launched towards the future Town Hall station.

Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said that the project was making significant strides.

“This is yet another milestone on this huge project, which will create room for more trains, more often and continues to support hundreds of jobs.”

On the western approach to the Metro Tunnel, TBMs Joan and Meg are also on their way to the CBD, heading south from the site of the future Parkville station towards the State Library before they finish their journey at Town Hall Station.

With all TBMs converging on the CBD, over half of the tunnelling has been completed. Over 31,000 concrete segments have been installed to form the rings lining the tunnels and 371,000 cubic metres of rock and soil have been removed.

While the TBMs continue their work, the construction of the entrances to the tunnels is progressing. At South Yarra, the base slab for the entrance has been poured and crews are working on the internal walls.

At all sites, workers are continuing to follow COVID-19 health guidelines, which can ensure the project continues while Melbourne remains under lockdown.

“Workers on the Metro Tunnel Project have done a fantastic job to keep this project pushing ahead while taking the greatest care with their own health and safety,” said Allan.

Once complete, the twin tunnels will increase capacity through the core of the Melbourne network by providing new stations and more trains.

Watch footage of the breakthrough of TBM Alice below.

 

Parkville

Breakthrough at Parkville Station for Melbourne Metro Tunnel

The first tunnel boring machine (TBM) has broken through into the future Parkville station as it excavates from Ardern Station to the State Library Station.

This is the first TBM to make it to Parkville after being launched in May, with the second TBM to make it to Parkville in the next weeks.

The TBM is now being moved through the station box. During this period the TBM will be cleaned and recommissioned before being launched towards the State Library Station.

All four TBMs are currently excavating future metro tunnels underneath Melbourne.

Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan thanked those working on the project for their efforts.

“It’s fantastic to see [TBM] Joan arrive at the future Parkville station. The Metro Tunnel is working through the pandemic supporting thousands of jobs, while creating the new space to run more trains more often.”

The stations themselves are also progressing, with work on the permanent structure for Parkville Station below Grattan Street taking place. Station entrances are also currently under construction.

The project is creating nearly 7,000 jobs and those currently on site are required to adhere to COVID-19 safety measures due to Victoria’s stage 4 restrictions.

“Construction of the Metro Tunnel is continuing under strict health requirements – keeping workers safe while they deliver this vital project,” said Allan.

With the 1.2-kilometre tunnels between Arden and the western tunnel entrance in Kensington completed last year and tunnelling underway from Anzac Station to the eastern tunnel entrance at South Yarra, more than 290,000 cubic metres of rock and soil have been excavated. 23,000 concrete segments have been installed to line the walls of the tunnels.

Once complete, estimated in 2025, the project increase Melbourne’s rail capacity by half a million passengers a week during the peaks.

TBM handed over for work on Auckland CRL

The City Rail Link (CRL) project in Auckland, New Zealand, has officially accepted ownership of its tunnel boring machine (TBM).

The machine has been assembled in Guangzhou, China and after a number of tests is ready to be shipped to New Zealand, said Francois Dudouit, project director for CRL’s tunnels and stations delivery consortium Link Alliance.

“The TBM successfully underwent more than 500 tests to make sure everything works as it should. There is now great excitement that we are ready for the next step – to bring the TBM to Auckland.”

The TBM has been designed to meet the unique challenges of tunnelling under Auckland, where it will dig the tunnels, transport the excavated spoil, and install the concrete panels that will line the tunnels.

“It is a unique, world class machine – an underground factory – purpose built to carve its way through Auckland’s sticky soil,” said Dudouit. “Just about everything that moves was tested to make sure it can do the transformational job it’s been designed for.”

While the CRL project has been slightly hampered by restrictions on travel for key personnel, and the delivery of the TBM was delayed due to the factory closing in China, the successful handing over of the TBM demonstrates that the project can continue during COVID-19, said Sean Sweeney, chief executive of CRL.

“The successful factory assessment tests and the handover of the TBM to the Link Alliance is a very clear and strong indication that the CRL project can meet critical milestones in a Covid-19 world.”

The TBM will carve out the twin, 1.6km-long tunnels between Mt Eden and central Auckland where it will connect with tunnels from Britomart. Delivery is expected in October and it will begin tunnelling in April. Each tunnel is expected to take nine months to complete.

The TBM will be named in honour of Māori rights champion Dame Whina Cooper.

TBMs

TBMs all boring under Melbourne for Metro Tunnel

All four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project are in the ground, ensuring that the project is on track to be finished in 2025, a year ahead of schedule.

Premier Daniel Andrews said that having all TBMs working at the same time was a milestone for the project.

“We’re making significant progress on this landmark project – with all four tunnel boring machines in the ground.”

The news comes as other significant works are completed. At Parkville station, excavation of the station box at Grattan Street is complete and 50 steel columns are being installed at the under-construction State Library Station.

Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan thanked those who were working on the project.

“The team have worked around-the-clock to get the four tunnel boring machines underway, while observing social distancing and keeping workers safe.”

Andrews echoed that these works would have an economy-boosting impact.

“Big construction projects like the Metro Tunnel are more important than ever as we rebuild from the pandemic – kickstarting our economy and supporting thousands of jobs.”

Of the four TBMs, two are tunnelling from the Ardern site in North Melbourne towards Parkville. TBMs Meg and Joan, named after Australian cricketer Meg Lanning and Victoria’s first female Premier Joan Kirner, are completing the two parallel tunnels.

At the eastern portal TBM Millie and TBM Alice, named after Millie Peacock – Victoria’s first female member of Parliament – and Alice Appleford, wartime nurse, are excavating the twin tunnels from Anzac Station to South Yarra.

Two more tunnel boring machines in the ground under Melbourne

The construction of the Melbourne Metro Tunnel has reached another milestone, with all four tunnel boring machines (TBM) now in operation.

TBM Millie, named after Victoria’s first female MP, Millie Peacock, is excavating the 1.7km tunnel between Anzac Station and the eastern entrance to the Metro Tunnel at South Yarra, while TBM Alice, named after wartime medical hero Alice Appleford, will soon begin on the second under St Kilda Road in the next weeks.

The first two tunnel boring machines had reached Anzac station from the west and are now creating the twin tunnels from Arden Station to Parkville station. There, the excavation of the station box was completed earlier in April.

Other works currently progressing at excavations under Swanston and Flinders streets to create the Town Hall station central cavern. The tunnelling for the twin tunnels under the CBD at the new State Library station, will begin later in 2020.

During these construction works, and with the building of rail infrastructure deemed an essential service, extra safety precautions are in place, said Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan.

“The Metro Tunnel team are doing an amazing job finding practical, safe ways of working, so we can continue building this urgently needed project in challenging circumstances.”

As states begin to lift coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, the continuation of infrastructure construction such as the Melbourne Metro Tunnel will be key for economic recovery, said Allan.

“Just as we’re facing an unprecedented health challenge, we’re facing an unprecedented economic challenge too. Our Big Build will be vital as we recover after the pandemic has passed.”

Breakthrough on longest rail tunnel in WA

After two and a half years, the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) called Grace has reached the end of its eight-kilometre tunneling journey in Perth.

TBM Grace has broken through at Bayswater dive station, part of the Metronet’S Forrestfield-Airport Link project in Western Australia.

Two tunnels will house the $1.86 billion project’s rail lines and TBM Grace has now built the first tunnel from Forrestfield to Bayswater.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said this is a historic milestone for the state and a major engineering feat that hasn’t been seen before in WA. 

“Where once there was dirt, sand, rocks and tree roots, now sits the foundation for our new railway,” McGowan said.

Through her journey it has tunnelled underneath Perth Airport, Redcliffe Station and the Swan River, before reaching her final destination at Bayswater.

Walls of the twin tunnel were installed by TBM Grace using half of the 54,000 locally fabricated concrete segments.

Grace is the first TMB and will be dismantled and craned out of the dive structure in preparation for the arrival of TBM Sandy, who is a safe distance behind Grace.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the arrival of TBM Sandy in coming months will mark the completion of tunnelling.

“With the end of tunnelling in sight, work is continuing on important infrastructure components such as station construction and fit out and readying the tunnels for track laying,” Saffioti said.

“The precision engineering it has taken for this machine to tunnel eight kilometres, through varying and sometimes challenging soil types, to break through in exactly the right spot is truly remarkable.”

Tunnelling work is due to be completed in May.

Metronet is the biggest public transport project Perth has seen and trains are set to run on the new rail line in the second half of next year.

The rail link between eastern foothills, Perth Airport, and the CBD is expected to be a 20 minute trip.

Tunnel boring machine construction begins for Metro Tunnel in Victoria

The first piece of a massive tunnel boring machine (TBM) has been assembled in North Melbourne in preparation for drilling works on the Metro Tunnel project.

The delivery of the machines component coincides with the one-year anniversary of ground being broken at the site. Three pieces of the TBM have been lowered into the station box in the last week, with crews working to finish the machine as soon as possible.

The TBM, nicknamed ‘Joan’ after Victoria’s first Premier Joan Kirner, will excavate over 100,000 cubic metres of rock and soil once launched. The boring project is part of the winter “suburban transport blitz” announced by the Victorian Government last month.

The construction marks the first TBMs planned for development on the Metro Tunnel project.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan visited the project site today, where they discussed more details of the blitz.

“Crews are working around the clock to put these massive machines together, which will dig the Metro Tunnel,  untangle the city loop, and deliver more trains more often across Melbourne,” Premier Andrews said.

“It’s part of our massive Suburban Transport Blitz – which is creating thousands of jobs and building the road and rail projects we need to get you where you need to go.”

Buses will replace trains on the Pakenham, Cranbourne and Frankston lines between Flinders Street and Caulfield from July 614 whie the works take place.

Coaches will also replace trains between Wendouree and Southern Cross on the Ballarat line from June 24-July 7.

Minister Allan thanked commuters for their patience while the works were carried out.

“Soon these massive tunnel boring machines will be digging underneath our city to run more trains more often,” she said.