• The first tunnel boring machines have arrived for the Sydney Metro West project, ready to start construction on the new 24-kilometre tunnels that will connect the Greater Parramatta to the Sydney CBD.

The two first tunnel boring machines have arrived at The Bays Station site and will be the first in the ground for Sydney Metro West, where they will carve out 11-kilometre twin tunnels from The Bays to Sydney Olympic Park.

These tunnel boring machines (TBMs) include refurbished parts from the mega boring machines used on the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project. The cutterheads, front shields and gripper shields were originally used for the TBMs that dug the metro tunnels from Chatswood to Blues Point.

Once launched, the newly arrived TBMs will excavate an average of 200 metres per week, with around 15 workers per shift operating each TBM 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The TBMs are due to start tunnelling from The Bays in the first half of 2023 and will arrive in Sydney Olympic Park in late 2024.

When Sydney Metro West opens in 2030, it will double rail capacity between Greater Parramatta and the Sydney CBD, link new communities to rail services, and support employment growth and housing supply.


TBM fast facts

  • Each TBM weighs almost 1,300 tonnes, equivalent to three Boeing 747 jets
  • 165 metres long, longer than two Airbus A380s
  • Approximately seven metres in diameter
  • 38 disc cutters per cutterhead, each more than 480 mm in diameter
  • The heaviest pieces of the TBM are the front shield and gripper shield, weighing approx. 280 tonnes each.


About the project

The ACCIONA and Ferrovial Joint Venture (AFJV) is delivering twin tunnels for Sydney Metro West – the new underground railway which will revolutionise the way Australia’s biggest city travels.

The circa-$2 billion Central Tunnelling Package includes:

  • Twin 11-kilometre metro railway tunnels from The Bays to Sydney Olympic Park
  • Excavation and civil works for five new stations at The Bays, Five Dock, Burwood North, North Strathfield and Sydney Olympic Park
  • Two double-shield, hard rock TBMs
  • A crossover cavern at Burwood North and one of the two precast concrete factories at Eastern Creek which will help make more than 70,000 concrete segments to line the twin tunnels
  • Two access shafts at Burwood North and The Bays, and
  • A TBM launch site at The Bays Station and a TBM retrieval site at Sydney Olympic Park Station.