The last Sydney Metro Northwest tunnel boring machine has been pulled out of the ground in a precision operation. Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) 2 Florence finished her journey at Cherrybrook on January 14 after digging 9 kilometre from Bella Vista, marking the end of tunnelling for Australia's longest railway tunnels – twin 15 kilometre tunnels from Bella Vista to Epping. Over the past 16 months more than 2.7 million tonnes of rock was excavated by the four 900-tonne TBMs – the first time in Australian history that four of these giant mechanical earthworms have been used on a transport infrastructure project.
The $1.15 billion tunnelling contract, awarded by the NSW Government in 2013, supported more than 4,600 jobs, mostly in Greater Western Sydney. Following her arrival at Cherrybrook, Florence has been progressively dismantled and her massive 105-tonne cutter head has now been lifted 10 metre to the surface. Named after Florence Taylor – Australia's first female architect, structural engineer and civil engineer – TBM2 chewed through more than 768,000 tonnes of Sydney Sandstone and shale and went through 616 hardened steel teeth due to the forces of tunnelling. Cherrybrook is one of eight new metro stations on Sydney Metro Northwest, the first stage of Sydney Metro – Australia's biggest public transport project. Sydney's new metro trains start in the first half of 2019 with a service every four minutes in the peak.