Premier Mark McGowan and the Transport Minister Rita Saffioti visited the Redcliffe Station box today, touring the tunnels which will host trains on the Forrestfield-Airport Link and inspecting tunnel-boring machine (TBM) Sandy for the first time since the machine left Airport Central Station in mid-2018.
Sandy broke through into the station box on July 6, four weeks after Grace, the other TBM.
Sandy has been cleaned, her worn cutter head tools replaced, and routine servicing and testing of mechanical and electrical equipment will soon be concluded, ready for the machine to launch on the final leg of her underground journey.
Grace completed this routine maintenance and was relaunched towards Bayswater on June 14. She has since reached the 5 kilometre tunnelling mark, having now installed about 3000 tunnel rings.
This means that about 9.5km – or nearly two-thirds – of tunnelling has been now been completed. It is expected the first TBM (Grace) will reach the Swan River checkpoint by November this year.
Meanwhile, work on the tunnel cross passages is also progressing with two out of twelve now completed and five currently under construction.
Once the TBMs reach Bayswater in the first half of 2020, tunnelling will be complete. Where possible, components of the machines will be dismantled and sold back to their manufacturer, Herrenknecht, for re-use.
Grace began tunnelling in July 2017 and Sandy began in September 2017.
About 9000 rings (each made up of six reinforced concrete segments), which were manufactured locally at Forrestfield, have been cast to build the twin, 7.4km bored tunnels.
The next major tunnelling milestone will be tunnelling under the Swan River, with the deepest point of the tunnels at 26 metres below the surface.
The new METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link will provide a 20-minute direct connection between the eastern foothills and the CBD – as well as the wider public transport network – via the airport (a 15-minute journey from the CBD). About 2000 jobs will be created as part of the project, with trains set to begin operating in late 2021.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“It’s amazing to think two years ago this month, construction of these landmark tunnels began with the launch of TBM Grace.
“Where once there was dirt, sand, rocks and tree roots, now sits the foundation for Perth’s newest railway line.
“With less than a year of tunnelling to go, I’m looking forward to seeing TBM Grace and Sandy break through at Bayswater.”
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“Grace and Sandy have successfully tunnelled 9.5km, having installed more than 30,000 tunnel segments.
“With the tunnels between Forrestfield and Redcliffe stations now formed, works can begin to construct the required rail infrastructure within the tunnels. This includes pouring the first concrete track slab.
“These tunnels are truly an engineering marvel – and it was great to see Redcliffe locals having a close-up look at the project and especially the TBM at yesterday’s Redcliffe Station Community Information Day.
“The second half of 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting time for METRONET, with the Bayswater Station Upgrade, Thornlie-Cockburn Link, Yanchep Rail Extension and Denny Avenue level crossing removal getting underway.
“The next few years will mark the renaissance of rail in WA, with multiple projects getting under construction, creating a pipeline of work and local jobs.”