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Tue December 07 2021

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Tunnelling gets under way for Sydney Metro

19 Oct 18 Nancy, the first of five tunnel boring machines for Australia's biggest transport project, has begun her work.

Twin metro railway tunnels will be built below the centre of Sydney and deep under Sydney Harbour as part of the Sydney Metro in New South Wales (NSW).

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and minister for transport and infrastructure Andrew Constance officially launched tunnel boring machine (TBM) Nancy – one of the five that will build 31km of tunnels between Marrickville and Chatswood. The TBM has been named in honour of aviation pioneer Nancy Bird Walton.  

“Today marks the start of the huge task of digging twin tunnels under the city, delivering Sydney’s new world-class metro railway and building a stronger, better future for the people of NSW,” said Berejiklian.

Nancy and another TBM will tunnel 8.1km from Marrickville to the new Sydney Metro station sites at Waterloo, Central, Pitt Street, Martin Place and on to Barangaroo, where they will be removed from deep underground.

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The TBMs are about 150m long and will cut through Sydney’s hard sandstone. The five TBMs will excavate 5.9 million tonnes of rock.

“These machines are underground factories, mechanical worms designed to dig and line the tunnels as they go so that Sydney Metro can be delivered as quickly as possible,” said Constance. “Nancy is specially designed to cut through our city’s unique sandstone and shale and will tunnel an average of 120 metres a week.”

Two TBMs will also dig 6.2km from Chatswood to the edge of Sydney Harbour. A fifth machine has been specially designed to deliver the twin tunnels under Sydney Harbour.

Syndey Metro opens in the city’s north west in the second quarter of next year – with 13 metro stations, 4,000 commuter car parking spaces and 36km. Metro rail is being extended into the Sydney central business district and beyond to Bankstown; in 2024, Sydney will have 31 metro stations and a 66km metro railway.

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