Sydney Metro Rapid Transit System in New South Wales, Australia

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As part of the ongoing Sydney Metro Rapid Transit System project, tunnelling works between Sydney Olympic Park and Westmead are set to begin. Recently, Australia’s first autonomous tunnel boring machine (TBM) dubbed Betty, was deployed to carry out the works starting from the Clyde Stabling Maintenance Facility to the Parramatta Metro Station. 

The 170-meter-long TBM Betty will work on approximately 180 metres of tunnel a week. On the first leg, it will reportedly dig the 4.5-kilometre tunnel from Clyde to Sydney Olympic Park. An additional TBM will be deployed in the coming months to excavate Betty’s twin tunnel.

Also Read: Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel Project Begins Maximum Speed Tests

Once the TBMs arrive at Sydney Olympic Park, they will be withdrawn and returned to Clyde, before being relaunched in the opposite direction towards Westmead.

Noteworthy, TBM Betty is the third machine to be deployed under this project. The others are TBM Eileen and TBM Peggy which are working on the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project. Earlier this month the latter completed the first leg of its 5.5-kilometre journey from the Airport Business Park to the Aerotropolis. TBM Peggy completed its first journey at the site of the future Western Sydney Airport Metro Station.

TBM Peggys’ breakthrough follows TBM Eileens’ approximately a month ago. The latter arrived at the Airport Terminal metro station site about three months after it began tunnelling works at Airport Business Park in April 2023.

Sydney Metro Rapid Transit System Project Overview

Sydney Metro is a fully automated, rapid-transit rail system located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Metro North West Line, the first component of the Sydney metro opened back in May 2019. This double-track line runs from Tallawong to Chatswood, mostly underground, covering a distance of 36 kilometres and passing through 13 stations.

Work is underway to extend the Metro North West Line from Chatswood to Bankstown under the City & Southwest, a 30-kilometre rapid transit project that is currently being carried out in Sydney. The project is scheduled for 2024 completion upon which it will extend the Metro North West Line by 30 kilometers and its stations by 18. 

Two additional lines are being built under the Sydney Metro West and Western Sydney Airport projects. Under the Western Sydney Airport project, an approximately 23-kilometer line will be built from St Marys to the new Aerotropolis station in Badgerys Creek. This line will have a total of six stations and it will mainly service the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport. The Western Sydney Airport project is set to be completed by 2026.

The Sydney Metro West project on the other hand will involve the construction of an approximately 24-kilometre line from Westmead to a new station at Hunter Street in the Sydney CBD. It will comprise a total of nine stations serviced by underground twin tracks. The line will serve Parramatta and Sydney Olympic Park when it opens in 2030.

Sydney Metro Rapid Transit System Project Timeline 

April 2022

Contract Awarded for Western Sydney Airport Line Project

A joint venture of CPB Contractors and United Infrastructure that is comprised of three Western Sydney businesses i.e. Mulgoa Quarries, Burton Contractors, and JK Williams, was awarded a $538.5 million surface and civil alignment works contract for the Western Sydney Airport line project that was previously known as Sydney Metro Greater West.

The contract particularly covers the construction of a 3.5-kilometre elevated viaduct between Orchard Hills and Luddenham, 7 kilometres of earthwork for railroad building, a 190-meter-long rail bridge across the new M12 freeway, a 20-meter-long rail bridge within the airport, construction of temporary and permanent access roads, and large-scale earthworks for the stabling and maintenance facilities site.

The surface and civil alignment work contract is the second major contract awarded to complete the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport Project, which will benefit the region by producing 14,000 new jobs, including 250 apprenticeships throughout construction.

Boost for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project area

The $538.5 million surface and civil alignment work contract for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project is a huge boost to Western Sydney where more than 20% of the labour force for this project is expected to be sourced.

As work on this contract ramps up in the coming months, United Infrastructure will generate 50 new positions, including apprentices and trainees, to assist in constructing the new metro rail line. 4

The Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport Project will also source a minimum of 50% Australian steel, including reinforcing on all three of the project’s core contract packages, further increasing work opportunities in Australia. 5

Australia and New South Wales governments are collaborating to fund the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project. The project’s third and last major contract package is expected to be granted by the end of this year.

Dec 2022

Sydney Metro Airport Project Awards Final Major Contract

The SSTOM (Stations, Systems, Trains, Operations, and Maintenance) contract for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project has been awarded. 

Awarded to the Parklife Metro consortium, which is made up of Siemens, Plenary Group, RATP, and Webuild, the SSTOM contract is said to have the largest scope of any Sydney Metro contract awarded, up to date.

It covers the construction of six new stations between St Marys and the new Aerotropolis development alongside core rail systems. In addition, the contract includes the marshalling as well as maintenance facility that will be built at Orchard Hills.

More on the scope of the contract

Moreover, the project’s contract also includes the construction of 12 brand-new metro trains. The consortium will also construct the new Aerotropolis. Preparations for tunnelling are already underway at the future station. The tunnel stretch will run from the airport to the Aerotropolis site.

Under the terms of the contract, Parklife Metro will also maintain and operate the Sydney Metro-Western Sydney Airport for a total of 15 years, upon operation. The SSTOM contract is also the largest public-private partnership award within New South Wales.

Significance of the project

The government declared the Sydney Metro Airport project a significant milestone mark in Australian history.

Officially, it is the first, ever infrastructure rail project to be certified as carbon neutral, since its construction began. Additionally, the project will continue to remain carbon-neutral throughout to operation.

As a whole, the project strives to support the growing Western Sydney region. Furthermore, the project aims to serve as a connection for commuters and travellers to the new Western Sydney International Airport.

As a result, it will then provide major economic stimulus. In fact, it is projected to support more than 14,000 jobs during its construction.

Dec 2022

Final tunnelling contract for Sydney Metro West project in Australia awarded

The Sydney Metro West project has officially awarded its multi-billion final tunnel contract to a JV (joint venture). The JV comprises John Holland, CPB Contractors (CPB) alongside Ghella joint venture (JHCPBG JV).

The new contractors for the Sydney Metro West project will deliver the final, eastern tunnelling stage. The project features a total of 3.5 kilometres of metro rail tunnels between the Sydney Central Business District (CBD) and The Bays.

Sydney Metro West project to begin operations in 2030

The project’s $1.63 billion contract includes a tunnel boring machine (TBM) launch site at The Bays. Officially, it has been confirmed that two TBMs will be launched toward Hunter Street. The Eastern Tunneling Contract will also include a turnback cavern towards the eastern direction of the New Hunter Street Station. The turnback cavern will allow for trains to turn around before their journey back to Parramatta.

The Sydney Metro West project’s contractors will also work on excavation and civil works for two new cavern stations at Hunter and Pyrmont Street within Sydney CBD. Moreover, the project will feature well over 8,000 segments to line the tunnels. Impressively, the project will create more than 70,000 indirect jobs as well as 10,000 direct new jobs.

The preparations for tunnelling on its final section of the line are set to commence in 2023. Thereafter, in 2030, reliable and fast passenger services will begin to take commuters from the Sydney CBD to Parramatta in well about, 20 minutes.

David Elliot, The New South Wales (NSW) Minister for Transport, Veterans, and Western Sydney spoke about the project. With absolute excitement, David asserted that the project strives to deliver Australia’s biggest public transport project. Furthermore, the NSW Minister confirmed that the two tunnel boring machines are already on site and ready to start working from early next year.

Jan 2023

Contract awarded for Sydney Metro Rapid Transit System project

A $41M contract has been awarded for the Sydney Metro Rapid Transit System project in New South Wales, Australia.

The contract, which covers the technological installations at stations between Bankstown and Marrickville as well as the implementation of a brand-new mechanical gap filler technology, was awarded to Hyundai Movex. Quite impressively, the technological advancement is the very first of its kind, within Australia.

Scope of the $41M Sydney Metro Rapid Transit System project contract

According to the contract, Hyundai Movex will design, supply as well and install a total of 150 mechanical gap fillers. Additionally, the company will work with partners in Australia, including Ricardo Rail for the delivery of the project’s structures.

The installations will be done across the eight existing stations that have all been upgraded to Sydney Metro standards. Upon the arrival of a train at a station, the mechanical gap fillers will swiftly and automatically extend from the platform to the train, right before the screen doors open. 

While commenting on the project, the Minister for Transport said that it strives to enhance the travel experience. Furthermore, David Elliot revealed that the commuters on the Bankstown line, specifically, are a step closer to more accessible as well as safer platforms.

Enhancing Safety and Mobility  

The contract features 360 platform screen doors for the stations right between Bankstown and Marrickville. The doors are set to enhance safety by keeping objects and people from the gaps between platforms and trains. Additionally, the doors will allow the trains to get in and out, much faster. 

The project will also include the supply of lifts to all ten stations between Bankstown and Marrickville. Further enabling full accessibility to Dulwich Hill, Canterbury, Punchbowl, Hurlstone Park, and Canterbury for the very first time. With level access between trains and platforms alongside lifts at all stations, the Sydney Metro is Australia’s only, fully accessible railway.

Jul 2023

North-South Concourse at Sydney Metro’s Central Station opens

North-South Concourse, the new concourse on Sydney Metro’s Central Station is open following the completion of its construction.

Reportedly, the facility features a 140 m-long transition zone linked to Central Walk, an 80 m-long underground pedestrian line. Better known as the Northern Concourse, the underground link was open to the public in April 2023. Additionally, the North-South concourse features three brand-new retail spaces in addition to back-of-house areas for both Sydney Metro and Sydney Trains.

By 2024 the North-South Concourse at Sydney Metro’s Central Station will provide customers with direct access to metro platforms. The platforms are said to be 27m below the surface, which will connect customers to more reliable and faster metro services. These include Central Station to Victoria Cross Station in North Sydney within nine minutes. Meanwhile, Central Station to Chatswood Station Station would be within 15 minutes.