Milestone for Sydney metro network

Sydney metro network marked a massive success as tunnelling has been completed for Western Sydney Airport metro and trial running on City & Southwest line is in final stage.

Western Sydney Airport metro tunnels have been completed on June 27, delivering 9.8-km twin metro tunnels which are set to become the transport spine of the Greater West.

The historic milestone was reached after tunnel boring machine (TBM) Marlene arrived at the St Marys Metro Station site and achieved the final tunnel breakthrough for the project.

The mega machines spent 14 months building two separate sets of tunnels at either end of the alignment. The job required the excavation of 1,863,460 tonnes of material, enough to fill 300 Olympic pools, and the installation of 69,966 concrete segments to line the new tunnel walls.

TBMs Marlene and Catherine carved out the 4.3-km tunnels from Orchard Hills, under the M4 Motorway and the Great Western Highway to reach St Marys. TBMs Eileen and Peggy constructed the 5.5-kilometre tunnels from Airport Business Park, underneath the new Western Sydney International Airport, to Aerotropolis.

The final TBM breakthroughs for Western Sydney Airport metro tunnels occurred in May and June. With tunnelling complete, the TBMs will be dismantled, washed and lifted by tower cranes onto trucks to travel to a storage location, before they are shipped back to the TBM manufacturer.

Work inside the tunnels will continue and involves completing the construction of 39 cross passages and preparing for tracklaying to begin.

The 23 km Western Sydney Airport metro line will connect communities and travellers with the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and the growing region. The city-shaping project, from St Marys through to the new airport and Bradfield City Centre, will provide a major economic stimulus for Western Sydney, supporting more than 14,000 jobs during construction for the NSW and national economies.

The project included three major contracts

The tunnelling contract was awarded in December 2021, to CPB Contractors and Ghella Joint Venture to build the new twin metro rail tunnels.

In March 2022, the contract to deliver approximately 10.6 km of elevated viaduct, earthworks for track formation, a rail bridge over the new M12 motorway, a rail bridge within the airport and associated works, was awarded to CPB Contractors and United Infrastructure Joint Venture.

In December 2022, the largest Public Private Partnership contract in New South Wales was awarded to Parklife Metro.

Parklife Metro will deliver six new stations between St Marys and the new Bradfield City Centre, 12 new metro trains, core rail systems and the stabling and maintenance facility to be built at Orchard Hills. Parklife Metro will also operate and maintain Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport line for 15 years after it becomes operational.

Final trials for Sydney Metro City & Southwest

On June 24, testing has reached its final stages for Sydney Metro City & Southwest line ahead of city-shaping metro services starting in August from Chatswood, below the Sydney CBD and out to Sydenham. TBMs were used to excavate 15.5 km of new twin rail tunnels between Chatswood and Sydenham.

Sydney Metro City & Southwest required five TBMs. Two were launched and removed from the Chatswood and Marrickville dives sites, with the fifth from Barangaroo.

After more than a year of intensive testing and commissioning of the new infrastructure, including the new tunnels, trains and stations, our operations and maintenance partner Metro Trains Sydney (MTS) starts the trial running phase, a crucial step in achieving accreditation before passenger services commence.

In the trial running phase, MTS will prepare for operations by running a range of field-based scenarios across the line and stations, which are designed to imitate real-life timetable services and operational situations. This will involve running the trains to a timetable, to ensure they are reliable, practising operational processes and procedures, as well as replicating emergency exercises to assess the response to unplanned situations.

Trial running follows the completion of integration testing between the existing Metro North West Line and the new city section of Sydney Metro City & Southwest, demonstrating the trains, signalling and station systems are all working together and functioning seamlessly along the length of the line.

Since the rigorous testing and commissioning program started in April 2023, more than 9,000 hours of a total of 11,000 hours of required testing has been completed along the 51.5-kilometre line from Tallawong to Sydenham.

When world-class metro services extend beyond Chatswood and into the city this year, passengers will benefit from fully accessible, safe and direct public transport services with record travel times in peak hours.

Part of the Sydney metro network project, services on this line will be extended from Sydenham to Bankstown through the conversion of T3 Bankstown Line (Sydenham – Bankstown line) to metro standards. The final conversion of the T3 Bankstown Line is likely to require a shutdown of up to 12 months, commencing between July and October 2024.

Following the completion of the project, Sydney Metro City & Southwest will operate fully segregated from the existing Sydney Trains railway between Sydenham and Bankstown. The T3 Line west beyond Bankstown will continue to be operated by Sydney Trains, serving stations between Liverpool, Lidcombe and Bankstown.

Sydney Metro network, together with signalling and infrastructure upgrades across the existing network, will increase the capacity of train services across Sydney from about 120 an hour today, to up to 200 services an hour beyond 2024. After the conversion, metro trains from Bankstown will run at least every four minutes in the peak, or 15 trains an hour.

In addition, in February 2023, the Government of New South Wales (NSW) announced plans for expand Sydney Metro network by adding 100 km of new tracks.

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