The Sydney Metro–Western Sydney Airport project has launched a third specially designed tunnel boring machine (TBM) at Orchard Hills, marking a major milestone towards the delivery of new metro services.
It is the first Sydney Metro project to use earth pressure balance TBMs, which are designed to support the ground as they excavate through shale rock and clay along the northern section of the line.
TBM Catherine will carve out one of the 4.3km tunnels from Orchard Hills to the new metro station site at St Marys.
The TBM is named after Catherine White, who has worked tirelessly to advocate against violence towards women in the Blacktown area.
TBM Catherine joins TBMs Eileen and Peggy, which are well into their journeys to build the 5.5km southern twin metro tunnels after launching at Airport Business Park towards the Aerotropolis station site this year. Each TBM will excavate about 120m a week.
A fourth and final TBM for the project will launch at Orchard Hills in 2023 to build the tunnel alongside TBM Catherine.
The new metro line is a city-shaping project that will provide communities with easier access to job hubs, commercial and education facilities, and connections to Sydney’s wider public transport network.
The Sydney Metro–Western Sydney Airport line will be operational when Western Sydney International Airport opens for passenger services, with an expected travel time of 15 minutes from St Marys metro station to Airport Terminal Station and a further five minutes to Aerotropolis Station.
Featured image: Catherine White at the Sydney Metro tunnel site. Courtesy of Sydney Metro.