The third of the four North West Rail Link tunnel boring machines has arrived in Sydney and has been named Isabelle.
Isabelle is the first of the two tunnel boring machines which will start work from Cherrybrook, digging the longest railway tunnels every built in Australia.
The first tunnel boring machine Elizabeth is already more than 330 metres along her underground journey from Bella Vista to Cherrybrook, while the second machine Florence is now being assembled at Bella Vista to start digging before the end of this year.
Isabelle, which weighs more than 900 tonnes, is being assembled and tested about 14 metres below the surface at the new Cherrybrook Station before she also starts digging in the next few months.
Following worldwide tradition, the tunnel boring machine has been named after a female by the tunnel builders Thiess John Holland Dragados (TJHD). Isabelle Andersen goes to a local Norwest Childcare Centre and is the four-year-old daughter of the construction director, representing the families of the 900 workers who will deliver the twin 15 kilometre tunnels between Bella Vista and Epping.
TJHD Project Director Terry Sleiman said four year old Isabelle is a big supporter of the North West Rail Link. “Izzy came to see me about a year ago asking if we could paint the tunnels pink. After being completely out-negotiated, the tunnelling team agreed on a compromise,” Mr Sleiman said.
“Working safely and getting home to loved ones every day is a big motivation for everyone who works on the project. The third tunnel boring machine has been named Isabelle to represent the families of all crew working on this iconic project.” The first two tunnel boring machines, Elizabeth and Florence, have already been named after women who have made a positive contribution to life in Sydney.