Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Peggy has completed the first leg of its journey, marking a major milestone in the Sydney Metro-Western Sydney Airport project. 

The 1,066t mega-machine completed the first leg of its 5.5km journey to the Aerotropolis, following TBM Eileen, who made her historic first breakthrough last month.

Peggy has worked around the clock at an average speed of 120m/week to build the fully lined 1.26km tunnel from the Airport Business Park, excavating around 112,000t of rock – enough to fill about 18 Olympic swimming pools.

Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said TBM Peggy’s arrival marks a significant step in the projects construction. 

“The spectacular arrival of TBM Peggy marks the fantastic progress underway on this vital 23km transport link, which will not only benefit Greater Western Sydney residents, but for those visiting from around the globe.

“We are thrilled to be shaping the future of this vibrant and growing region with reliable and fully accessible metro services, ready for when planes start taking off at the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.”

Approximately 293,000t of rock were cleared from the 25m deep Airport Terminal station box in preparation for TBM Peggy’s arrival, with the machine now traversing the station box before being relaunched, to tunnel under the future Western Sydney International Airport. 

TBM Peggy, named after Australian aviation pioneer and adventurer, Peggy Kelman OAM is expected to arrive at the Aerotropolis metro station site in 2024. 

A total of four TBMs will build the 9.8km long twin tunnels for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport railway line between St Marys and the Aerotropolis.

Currently, TBM Eileen is carving the metro tunnel alongside TBM Peggy from Airport Business Park to the Aerotropolis while TBM Catherine and TBM Marlene have begun their 4.3km journey from Orchard Hills to St Marys.

New South Wales Transport Minister, Jo Haylen said that the project will help support thousands of local jobs for New South Wales residents and will help shape the economy. 

“This city-shaping project is supporting the local economy with more than 14,000 jobs generated during construction, including 250 new apprentices and at least 20 per cent of the contract workforce coming from Greater Western Sydney.

“This project is making Western Sydney the doorway to the rest of the world, and we can’t wait to see it continue to take shape.”

A joint venture between CPB Contractors and Ghella was awarded the $1.8 billion Station Boxes and Tunnelling contract in 2021 to deliver 9.8km of twin metro tunnels, five station boxes and two services facilities shafts for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project.

The line will be operational when Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport opens for passenger services in 2026, with an expected travel time of 15 minutes from St Marys metro station to the Airport Terminal Station and a further five minutes to the Aerotropolis Station.

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