Tunnelling has begun in Sydney to deliver twin metro railway tunnels below the city’s CBD and under Sydney Harbour as part of the Sydney Metro project.
Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Nancy – one of the five mega borers which will build 31 kilometres of tunnel between Marrickville and Chatswood – has been officially launched.
Each TBM is around 150 metres long and are designed to handle Sydney’s geology to cut through hard sandstone. The five TBMs are expected to excavate 5.9 million tonnes of rock, which is enough to fill around 940 Olympic swimming pools.
The borers dig and line the tunnels as they go to deliver the Sydney Metro as quickly as possible, with Nancy able to cut through an average of 120 metres of sandstone and shale a week.
Two TBMs will dig 6.2 kilometres from Chatswood to the edge of Sydney Harbour, while a fifth machine has been designed to deliver the twin tunnels underneath the harbour.
Nancy has been named to honour transport pioneer Nancy Bird Walton OBE, who was the first female pilot on the Commonwealth to carry passengers and founded the Australian Women Pilot’s Association. The naming process is part of a tradition to give a female name to machines working underground, because historically workers would look to Saint Barbara for protection.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the Sydney Metro is at the centre of the NSW Government’s transformation of public transport which will give people more choose in how to get around Sydney.
“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,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Sydney Metro aims to open in the city’s north west in the second quarter of 2019, with 13 metro stations, 4000 commuter car parking spaces and 36 kilometres of new metro rail.