Engineering, Passenger Rail

TBMs needed for Melbourne Metro Tunnel

The Victorian government is casting out its net for a supplier to build the four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will be used to construct Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel.

The four TBMs required for the $11 project in Melbourne’s CBD will reportedly be over 100 metres long and weigh up to 1,000 tonnes. They will also need to be custom-built to deal with the unique ground conditions in the city.

The Metro Tunnel project will include the construction of five new underground stations, two of which will be directly connected to Flinders Street and Melbourne Central. The two nine-kilometre tunnels linking the stations will be dug by the new TBMs once they have been built and delivered to the launch sites in the city.

“We’re building a world-class, turn-up and go train system for Victoria and will use the world’s best to get the job done,” premier Daniel Andrews said.

“These giant custom-made TBMs will work day and night beneath the ground, building the Metro Tunnel to run more trains, more often, across Melbourne.”

It is expected that it will take around 18 months to construct the machines. They will then be tested and shipped to Melbourne in segments before being delivered to launch sites at Arden and Domain in 2019, where they will be lowered into the ground and reassembled on-site by local workers.

While digging into the earth under the city, the TBMs will also progressively install concrete linings to support the excavated tunnel.

Initial works for the Metro Tunnel project are underway at City Square, and, later in the month, windows will be installed in the giant timber fences along Swanston Street to create a viewing area where people can see the former underground City Square car park demolished and removed.

“The new viewing area at City Square will give Victorians a behind the scenes look as major construction ramps up to build a new underground station,” state transport minister Jacinta Allan said.

“The project will create thousands of jobs, and a true underground train network for Melbourne. After years of delay under the former Liberal Government – who abandoned the Metro Tunnel — we’re getting on with it.”

1 Comment

  1. The story makes it sound like this is some radical. revolutionary development never before used in the world – I thought that some long tunnels had already been built by TBMs in Sydney, but I must be mistaken.
    As I read this story I wonder if the Victorian Government has become the prime contractor for this project?
    Is it all to be done by day labour?