More TBMs about to get underway on Melbourne Metro project

More TBMs about to get underway on Melbourne Metro project
Alastair TaylorFebruary 19, 2020

The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, and Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, today inspected tunnel boring machines at the site of the future Anzac station on St. Kilda Road. The future station site is where the third and fourth TBMs will soon begin their run toward the rapidly evolving eastern portal in South Yarra.

Named Millie and Alice after Victoria's First female MP (Millie Peacock) and a First World War hero (Alice Appleford), the TBMs will be lowered into the station box underneath St. Kilda Road. When construction is complete on the TBMs, and the final excavations for Anzac station occur, the TBMs will start their first run toward the eastern portal in South Yarra.

More TBMs about to get underway on Melbourne Metro project
The eastern portal for the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project is now visible in South Yarra. Image: RPV

Once both TBMs reach South Yarra at the extraction point (bottom left in the picture above) the TBMs will be deconstructed, trucked back to Anzac station, reconstructed in the station pit and then sent on their final journey toward Town Hall (Flinders Street) station.

The media event today marked five years since works began on the project which started with an early works package kicking off in 2016.

Five years ago work started on the biggest public transport project ib Victoria's history - today, we're getting it done with the final tunnel boring machines being assembled

Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews

Meanwhile, the first two TBMs which began their journey last year are nearing the end of their first run from Arden Station to the western portal adjacent to South Kensington station. 

According to the latest estimate at the time of writing, TBM Joan has dug for over 1km and installed 633 rings inside the tunnel.  TBM Meg, which is roughly 300m behind Joan, has tunnelled 764 metres and thus far installed 444 rings to line the tunnel.

The Metro Tunnel's Facebook page posted the image below that depicts the completed tunnel that TBM Joan has created.

More TBMs about to get underway on Melbourne Metro project
Completed tunnel after TBM Joan has gone through. Image: Metro Tunnel/Facebook

The Metro Tunnel project will connect the Pakenham/Cranbourne lines in Melbourne's south-east with the Sunbury line in Melbourne's west, creating a high-frequency cross-town service on larger trains that currently operate services on Melbourne's network.

A big chunk of the Level Crossing Removal Project in the south-east can also be associated with the significant upgrades and new tunnel construction that has been ongoing for 4-5 years.

The overhead power system that gives trains traction power has been upgraded, and a new signalling system that takes one or two-generational leaps over and above what currently keeps trains safely running will also be installed.

While initially promised for a 2019 roll-out, the new HCMTs - High Capacity Metro Trains - have been doing introduction tests firstly between Berwick and Pakenham late last year and the trains have also been sighted doing tests on the Werribee line after dark.

The Sunbury line, after the Metro Tunnel is completed, will provide a one-seat journey to major employment centres and future transport interchanges in Clayton and the wider Monash NEIC

Conversely, the south-east of Melbourne will have a one-seat journey to Footscray and Sunshine - which is also an NEIC - and assuming the upcoming Melbourne Airport Rail Link uses the Metro Tunnel, south-east Melburnians will likely have a one-seat journey to Melbourne Airport.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

Editor's Picks