In Transport

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan

Western Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti

2 Years Of Forrestfield-Airport Rail Link Tunnelling Completed

Victor P Taffa

  • Both tunnel-boring machines (TBM’s) have broken through into Redcliffe Railway Station
  • TBM Sandy arrived at Redcliffe on July 6, and will soon leave the station box
  • TBM Grace on final leg to Bayswater Station recently reaching the 5 km tunnelling mark
  • Around 2,000 jobs created as part of the Forrestfield-Airport Link project

Premier Mark McGowan and the Transport Minister Rita Saffioti visited the Redcliffe Railway 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 Railway Station in mid-2018.

“It’s amazing to think 2 years ago this month, construction of these landmark tunnels began with the launch of TBM Grace.” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“Where once there was dirt, sand, rocks and tree root, now sits the foundation for Perth’s newest railway line.”

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 km tunnelling mark, having now installed about 3,000 tunnel rings.

This means that about 9.5 km 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.

“Grace and Sandy have successfully tunnelled 9.5 km, having installed more than 30,000 tunnel segments.” Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said.

“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.”

Work on the tunnel cross passages is also progressing with 2 out of 12 now completed and 5 currently under construction.

Once the TBM’s 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.

WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti







Grace began tunnelling in July 2017 and Sandy began in September 2017.

About 9,000 rings (each made up of 6 reinforced concrete segments), which were manufactured locally at Forrestfield, have been cast to build the twin, 7.4 km bored tunnels.

Next major tunnelling milestone will be tunnelling under the Swan River, with the deepest point of the tunnels at 26 metres below the surface.

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 2,000 jobs will be created as part of the project, with trains set to begin operating in late 2021.


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