Mega tunnel boring machine (TBM) Eileen has marked the first tunnel breakthrough for the Sydney Metro–Western Sydney Airport project, arriving at the Airport Terminal metro station site. 

TBM Eileen has worked around the clock to excavate around 112,000t of rock since launching at Airport Business Park in April 2023 – enough to fill about 18 Olympic swimming pools. 

The 1,066t mega machine has tunnelled at an average speed of 120m per week to build 1.26km of fully lined tunnel, which completes the first leg of its 5.5km journey towards the Aerotropolis. 

It took about five months to dig out roughly 293,000t of rock (about 48 Olympic swimming pools) in order to build the 25m deep Airport Terminal Station box to prepare for TBM Eileen’s arrival.

The machine will now traverse the station box before being relaunched to tunnel under the future Western Sydney International Airport, with the TBM expected to arrive at the Aerotropolis metro station site in 2024. 

A total of four TBMs will build the twin metro tunnels for the Sydney Metro–Western Sydney Airport line, with three TBMs already in the ground.  

The Sydney Metro–Western Sydney Airport line will be operational when Western Sydney International Airport opens for passenger services.

Featured image: Tunnel boring machine Eileen at site. Courtesy of Sydney Metro.

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