Sydney Metro: Record-breaking project in Australia
Australia’s first metro network is developing in Sydney. The first line of the “Sydney Metro” went into operation only about two years ago, but work is already underway on an extension through the city centre. In total, more than 30 kilometres of double tunnels have already been constructed for this project.
Big plans for Sydney: In three years, the Australian metropolis will have a 66-kilometre long driverless metro system with 31 stations. From 2024, the existing suburban railway network will be complemented and up to 40,000 passengers per hour will benefit from better connections from the suburbs to the business districts, the city centre
and the harbour. The construction of the metro is taking place in two phases: The first is the 36-kilometre “North West Line” (NW Line), which runs from Tallawong eastwards to Chatwood station north of the inner city. It will be followed by the “City & South West Line” (CSW Line), which will run southwards under the harbour basin, the inner city and the central business district and then continue westwards via Sydney Central Station to Bankstown. Tunnelling work which started in 2018 has been completed for the approximately 30-kilometre CSW Line, with an existing line to be connected on the westernmost section. In the inner city area, 15.5 kilometres of twin tunnels were excavated, using five tunnel boring machines (TBMs) from German manufacturer Herrenknecht. Two double shield TBMs, each with a drill head diameter of about seven metres, worked their way from the northern edge of Sydney Harbour northwards to Chatwood, while two others drilled their way from the south towards the southern edge of the harbour basin. The fifth TBM, equipped with a mix shield, drilled the onekilometre long connecting tubes between the tunnels under the harbour basin, where the tubes run up to 35 metres below the seabed and almost 70 metres below the water surface.
The Australian joint venture Systems Connect, consisting of UGL and CPB Contractors, was entrusted with the project under a 1.38 billion Australian dollar contract. Work is currently underway on equipping the tunnel and on building the stations. The NW Line has already been in operation since May 2019, and the 22 Alstom-Metropolis trains which are operating there carried around 20 million passengers in the first year after launch, according to the New South Wales state government. Around 28 kilometres of the line run underground, with 15 kilometres of double tunnels bored between Bella Vista and Epping. Four 120-metre long and 900-tonne double shield TBMs bored a total of 30 kilometres of tunnel in 16 months. A consortium consisting of the companies Thiess, John Holland (both Australia) and Dragados (Spain) was responsible for the tunnel work. The tunnelling works for this section started in September 2014; the contract for the drilling and construction works at stations on the line had a volume of 1.15 billion Australian dollars.