The mega tunnel boring machine (TBM) Eileen has crushed through a wall of rock to arrive at the Sydney Airport Terminal metro station site, marking the first tunnel breakthrough for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project.
The 1,066-tonne mega machine has tunnelled at an average speed of 120 metres per week to build 1.26 km of fully lined tunnel, which completes the first leg of its 5.5-km journey towards the Aerotropolis.
It took about five months to dig out about 293,000 tonnes of rock – about 48 Olympic swimming pools – to build the 25-metre-deep Sydney Airport Terminal metro station box to prepare for TBM Eileen’s arrival.
The huge 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. The 23-km new railway will link residential areas with job hubs including the new Aerotropolis,and connect travellers from the new airport to the rest of Sydney’s public transport system. The line will have six new metro stations, of which two stations will be built within the airport site, at the airport terminal and at the airport business park.
New metro line will become the transport backbone for Greater Western Sydney, connecting communities and travellers with the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and the growing region. The new line from St Marys through to the new airport and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, will provide a major economic stimulus for western Sydney, supporting more than 14,000 jobs during construction for the NSW and national economies.