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TBM Peggy breaks through on trip to Aerotropolis

Four military-style operations are underway to lift out tunnel boring machine (TBM) cutterheads, each weighing 100 tonnes, as tunnelling wraps up on the Sydney Metro project.

The Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project has reached another major milestone after the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Peggy completed the first part of its journey.

The 1,066-tonne mega-machine completed the first leg of its 5.5-kilometre journey to the Aerotropolis, following TBM Eileen, who made its first breakthrough last month.

TBM Peggy has worked around the clock at an average speed of 120 metres per week to build the fully lined 1.26-kilometre tunnel from the Airport Business Park, excavating around 112,000 tonnes of rock.

“The spectacular arrival of TBM Peggy marks the fantastic progress underway on this vital 23-kilometre transport link, which will not only benefit Greater Western Sydney residents, but for those visiting from around the globe,” said Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King.

“We are thrilled to be shaping the future of this vibrant and growing region with reliable and fully accessible metro services, ready for when planes start taking off at the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.”

In preparation for Peggy’s arrival, approximately 293,000 tonnes of rock have been excavated from the 25-metre-deep Airport Terminal station box.

The enormous machine will now traverse the station box before being relaunched, to tunnel under the future Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, with the TBM expected to arrive at the Aerotropolis metro station site in 2024.

A total of four TBMs will build the 9.8-kilometre-long twin tunnels for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport railway line between St Marys and the Aerotropolis.

TBM Eileen is carving the metro tunnel alongside TBM Peggy from Airport Business Park to the Aerotropolis. TBM Catherine and TBM Marlene have begun their 4.3-kilometre journey from Orchard Hills to St Marys.

“This city-shaping project is supporting the local economy with more than 14,000 jobs generated during construction, including 250 new apprentices and at least 20 per cent of the contract workforce coming from Greater Western Sydney,” said NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen. “This project is making Western Sydney the doorway to the rest of the world, and we can’t wait to see it continue to take shape.”

A joint venture between CPB Contractors and Ghella was awarded the $1.8 billion Station Boxes and Tunnelling contract in 2021 to deliver 9.8 kilometres of twin metro tunnels, five station boxes and two services facilities shafts for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project.

The line will be operational when Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport opens for passenger services in 2026, with an expected travel time of 15 minutes from St Marys metro station to the Airport Terminal Station and a further five minutes to the Aerotropolis Station.

READ MORE: Melrose Evolution passes Sydney Metro test.

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