Sydney Metro continues to break ground as project prepares to build its newest tunnel

Sydney Metro Illustration

Image via Transport for NSW & Sydney Metro

Sydney Metro, an automated rapid transit system, continues to take shape as a new batch of tunnel boring machines (TBMs) start arriving at Marrickville.

“It’s a huge logistical exercise. The TBM is so massive that it has to be broken into other large pieces, brought down to site piece by piece on the road, on the trailers,” said Scott Connor, Marrickville Project Manager.

Sydney Metro, with the help of five TBMs, will see twin tunnels built between Chatswood and Sydenham.

Once the first TBM is assembled it is expected to tunnel around 120 metres each week, with tunnelling to begin by the end of the year.

Together the five TBMs will create twin tunnels stretching 15.5 km long, with a 1 km stretch directly under the Sydney Harbour.

Major takeaways in the greater Metro project include new CBD stations at Martin Place, Pitt Street and Barangaroo.


Four more Herrenknecht tunnel borers are on their way, with each weighing 1,100 ton and measuring 150 metre long.

The machines were selected for their known ability to “cut through Sydney’s hard sandstone,” according to Transport NSW.

This is the first time that more than four TBMs have been used on an Australian transport project, where the previous record of 4 was held by the first stage of the Sydney Metro system, Metro Northwest.

Within the Chatswood to Sydenham portion of the Metro project, the TBMs will be used as follows:
  • 2 x TBMs will tunnel 6.2 km from Chatswood to the edge of Sydney Harbour
  • 2 x TBMs will tunnel 8.1 km from Marrickville to Barangaroo
  • 1 x TBM will tunnel 1 km under Sydney Harbour.

For reference, Metro Northwest’s twin rail tunnels, opening to the public in the second half of 2019, stretches 15km and was built in just 16 months.

Considering this, a similar timeline is anticipated for the upcoming 15.5 km twin tunnels between Chatswood and Sydenham.

Source: Transport for NSW & Sydney Metro


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