Sydney Metro Harbour tunnel
Sydney Metro West
Three major tunnelling contracts have been awarded for tunnelling between Westmead and Hunter Street in the Sydney CBD, and began tunnelling in 2023. Follow the journey of our tunnel boring machines (TBMs) with our TBM tracker.
Sydney Metro - Western Sydney Airport
Tunnel boring machines have started digging the Sydney Metro - Western Sydney Airport project in 2023. Follow the journey of our tunnel boring machines (TBMs) with our TBM tracker.
Sydney Metro City & Southwest
Tunnelling finished in March 2020 on the twin tunnels from Chatswood to Sydenham, including under Sydney Harbour and through the Sydney CBD.
The tunnel boring machines (TBM) tracker used to follow the historic dig by the five tunnel boring machines on the City & Southwest project can be found on this map.
About our tunnels
Sydney tunnel depths
Marrickville cutterhead lift
Barangaroo TBM cutterhead
TBM Mum Shirl being lifted
Victoria Cross breakthrough
Chatswood dive tunnels
Specialised TBM used to cross the Sydney Harbour. Link to text version.
TBM Kathleen barge move
Our tunnel boring machines
Six TBMs will be used to deliver the tunnels between Westmead and the Sydney CBD for Sydney Metro West.
Four TBMs will be used to deliver the tunnels for the Sydney Metro -Western Sydney Airport project from Orchard Hills to St Marys and between Airport Business Park and Aerotropolis Station.
Five TBMs were used to deliver the tunnels between Chatswood and Sydenham for Sydney Metro City & Southwest. This included a specialised TBM for the section under Sydney Harbour because of the ground and rock conditions found at the bottom of the harbour.
Four mega tunnel boring machines built the twin tunnels on Metro North West Line. This was the first time in Australian history four TBMs were used on the one transport infrastructure project.
Naming the TBMs
On major tunnelling projects around the world, underground workers look to Saint Barbara for protection. Because of this, machines that work underground are traditionally given female names.
Sydney Metro West TBMs
TBM1 was named after Daphne Hilton who is not only an icon in Paralympic sport but is one of the most successful Australian athletes of all time.
TBM2 was name after Beatrice Bush who sold newspapers seven days a week from the traffic island at the intersection of Victoria Road and The Crescent in White Bay for 25 years until 1996.
Sydney Metro - Western Sydney Airport TBMs
TBM1 was named after Eileen Cammack OBE who was the first female mayor of Penrith and established the first pathology laboratory at Nepean District Hospital in 1948.
TBM2 was named after Peggy Kelman OBE who was an aviation pioneer, adventurer, and flying companion of Nancy-Bird Walton, the namesake of the new international airport. Peggy Kelman (left) with Nancy-Bird Walton (right)
TBM3 was named after Catherine White who has worked tirelessly to promote social justice and gender equality, and advocate against violence towards women in the Blacktown area.
TBM4 was named after Dr Marlene Kanga AO for her significant contribution as a global leader in engineering and role model to women in STEM. Marlene was chosen by students from Claremont Meadows Public School.
Sydney Metro City & Southwest TBMs
TBM1 Nancy was named in honour of Australian aviation pioneer Nancy Bird Walton OBE, the first female pilot in the Commonwealth to carry passengers and the founder of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association.
TBM2 Mum Shirl was named in honour of Colleen Shirley Perry, a Wiradjuri woman who dedicated her life to her community, raising 60 foster children and was involved in establishing legal, medical, housing and cultural services for the Aboriginal community.
TBM3 Wendy was named after Wendy Schreiber, a volunteer at Bear Cottage – the only children’s hospice in NSW and long standing charity partner for the Sydney Metro tunnelling contractor John Holland CPB Ghella.
TBM4 Mabel was named after Mabel Newill, a matron at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital - she helped stop the spread of typhoid in Sydney, in the early 1900s.
TBM5 Kathleen was named after Kathleen Butler, who worked on the Sydney Harbour Bridge – technical advisor to legendary engineer John Bradfield – a century ago.
Sydney Metro Northwest TBMs
TBM1 Elizabeth was named after colonial pioneer Elizabeth Rouse, by Alexandra Marshall from Rouse Hill Anglican College after winning a school competition.
TBM2 Florence was named after Australia’s first female engineer and architect, Florence Mary Taylor.
TBM3 Isabelle was named after four-year old Isabelle Andersen by tunnel builders CPB John Holland Dragados. Isabelle represented the families of the tunnelling workers.
TBM4 Maria was named after 19th century Aboriginal rights advocate Maria Lock.
Safety of customers is the number one priority. Tunnel safety measures include cross passages linking the twin tunnels and constant camera coverage.
Sydney's Rail Future