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Tunnels almost complete for Western Sydney Airport metro

written by Jake Nelson | June 13, 2024

Tunnel boring machine ‘Peggy’ breaks through the wall at the future Western Sydney Aerotropolis metro station. (Image: Sydney Metro)

Three of four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have completed their journeys for the under-construction Western Sydney Airport metro.

Dubbed Catherine, Eileen and Peggy, the three machines – plus a fourth, Marlene, which has approximately 230m to go – have over the past 13 months created the tunnels that will house the 23km track connecting the airport and Bradfield “aerotropolis” to St Marys in the north.

Work is already underway at St Marys to construct metro station facilities, while construction on the Orchard Hills, Luddenham and Bradfield stations will begin in the coming months.

The government aims to have the metro line operational by the time the airport opens in 2026, with an estimated travel time of 20 minutes between the St Marys and Aerotropolis stations.

“I am delighted to see the wonderfully-named Catherine and her TBM friends bringing us closer to a world-class transport option to the new Western Sydney International Airport and major job hubs, including the new Aerotropolis,” said Transport Minister Catherine King.


“This milestone is a critical step towards connecting the suburbs that will grow around this brand-new metro line, giving Western Sydney the opportunity to attract more jobs and housing opportunities.”

More than 1.4 million tonnes of material have been excavated and 68,360 concrete segments installed, with a team of 553 tunnellers, TBM operators and support personnel working around the clock up to seven days a week to finish the tunnels.

The remaining work in the tunnels includes the construction of 39 cross passages and preparations for laying tracks.

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen has also hailed the “phenomenal milestone” towards the metro’s completion.

“This is a job well done for three of our four mega machines and a huge achievement for everybody involved,” she said.

“This city-shaping metro line will service travellers and airport workers with major population centres like Penrith, Parramatta and the Sydney CBD via St Marys.

“While tunnelling is almost finished on the Western Sydney Airport line for now, we are planning the public transport links of the future. Our business cases are underway to plan more future rail links in Western Sydney as these communities continue to grow.”

The government earlier this year revealed its Master Plan for the Bradfield City Centre aerotropolis, which will include up to 10,000 new homes.

The draft Master Plan, available online, includes more than 2 million square metres of gross floor area of development near the airport, with plans for residential areas, roads, green space, commercial and retail precincts, and needed infrastructure.

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