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TBMs start turning on Sydney Metro West

Sydney Metro West TBMs

The first two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have started carving out a section of the 24-kilometre Sydney Metro West line.

The next stage of the city-shaping Sydney Metro project is well and truly underway with TBM Daphne already 150 metres into its 11km journey from The Bays to Sydney Olympic Park, and TBM Beatrice 45m into its journey on the parallel tunnel.

As is tunnelling tradition across the world, the Sydney Metro West TBMs are named after women to bring luck to the workers who look to Saint Barbara for protection.

TBM Daphne has been named in honour of pioneer for paralympic sport Daphne Hilton, one of the most successful Australian athletes of all time and a trailblazer for women in sport.

She competed in three Paralympic Games between 1960 and 1968 and set a record that is unlikely to ever be broken— winning 14 medals across five different sports including athletics, swimming, archery, table tennis and fencing.

TBM Beatrice’s namesake is iconic local newspaper seller Beatrice Bush, who sold newspapers for over 25 years from the traffic island at the intersection of Victoria Road and The Crescent in White Bay.

It is estimated she sold five million papers between 1971 to 1996, passing away six days after she sold her last paper. Her life inspired songwriters, filmmakers, sculptors and painters.

Along with TBM excavation, construction of the tunnels includes activities like the construction of cross passages and crossover caverns.

Construction of the twin metro tunnels from The Bays to Sydney Olympic Park is part of the Central Tunnelling Package awarded in July 2021 to the Acciona Ferrovial joint venture.

Sydney Metro West will double the rail capacity between Sydney’s two biggest CBDs once passenger services commence in 2030.

Meanwhile, two of three roadheaders have started excavating tunnels that will connect the Sydney Metro West line to a new stabling and maintenance facility at Clyde.

The 120-tonne, 4.8m high and 4.5m wide roadheaders have been lowered into a temporary access shaft at Clyde, which is approximately 28m below the surface.

A large 750t mobile crane carefully lowered each roadheader into the shaft in pieces, with the heaviest load weighing just over 92t. It then took two days to assemble each machine.

The final roadheader will soon be assembled to help excavate the tunnels and two junction caverns that will allow trains to move from the underground railway tunnels to be stabled and undergo routine maintenance as required.

It will take around 13 months for the roadheaders to excavate the tunnels and junction caverns.