New South Wales Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian announced today, Wednesday 21st January, that Sydney’s North West Rail Link is running ahead of schedule and $300 million under budget, as the landmark project reached another major tunnelling milestone.
Mr Baird and Ms Berejiklian were onsite as the first TBM, Elizabeth, broke through into the future Norwest Station area – just days after the fourth and final machine, Maria, started excavation.
“This is an exciting day for Sydneysiders and another clear sign that construction of this critical rail link is powering ahead,” Mr Baird said. “It was only in September that we launched this first massive machine at Bella Vista – in that time it has tunnelled 2.1km to reach today’s historic breakthrough at Norwest.
“All four 900 tonne machines are now in the ground digging Australia’s longest railway tunnels …we are wasting no time delivering this world class infrastructure project and doing it ahead of schedule and under budget.”
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In tunnelling to Norwest from the Bella Vista tunnelling site, TBM1 Elizabeth has:
- excavated more than 206,000 tonnes of crushed rock, both sandstone and shale
- installed more than 7,300 concrete segments to line the new rail tunnel
- been home to 85 workers, including tunnellers, maintenance crews, geologists, surveyors and engineers, who combined have spent more than 25,000 hours underground, and
- had 40 hardened steel cutters on her cutterhead replaced following wear in the Sydney sandstone and shale.
Over the coming weeks, Elizabeth will be moved through the Norwest Station area, before setting off again towards Showground Station as the other three machines Florence, Isabelle and Maria continue their work.