Sydney Metro City & Southwest Project: First mega TBM arrives for Sydney Metro

The first of five 1,100t Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) that will be used to build the Sydney Metro in Australia has been delivered.

Sydney Metro is Australia's largest public transport project. The second stage, Sydney Metro City and Southwest, consists of 15,5km of new underground twin tunnels which extend from Chatswood to Marrickville, bored under highly urbanised areas including the City Business District. The five TBMs are part of the AU$2.81bn tunnelling contract awarded to the John Holland CPB Ghella joint venture.

The project includes 6 new stations: Waterloo, Central Station (new underground platforms), Pitt Street, Martin Place, Barangaroo, Victoria Cross (North Sydney) and Crow's Nest. The tunnels will be excavated with 4 Double Shield TBMs and 1 Hydroshield TBM, specific for the underwater harbour crossing.

The sheer size of each TBM is around 150 metres long, and it’s the equivalent length of two Airbus A380 jets nose to tail. They’re also extremely powerful and have been specially designed for Sydney’s geology.

The TBM is arriving at the Marrickville launch site in eight shipping containers accompanied by 23 other separate pieces so big they don’t fit into a container. These pieces include a 100t cutter head and a 128t section of the round steel tunnelling chamber, each delivered on truck trailers with 68 wheels.

The first 1,100t TBM will now be assembled and tested ready for launching later this year. It will tunnel to the new Waterloo Station, then continue under the Sydney central business district via new metro station sites at Central, Pitt Street, Martin Place and on to Barangaroo Station.