Premier Launches Tunnelling For Forrestfield-Airport Rail Link Project

Premier Launches Tunnelling For Forrestfield-Airport Rail Link Project

Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan

Western Australia Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti

Tunnelling Begins For Rail Link To Airport And Foothills

Victor P Taffa

  • Major milestone on $1.86 Billion Forrestfield-Airport Rail Link project
  • First component of METRONET plan for Perth being realised
  • Tunnel segments to be made locally, creating jobs for Western Australians
  • 2,000 jobs will be created over the life of the project

Premier Mark McGowan today launched one of the giant machines that will drill the tunnels for Perth’s newest railway line.

“It is a pleasure to mark the start of the two-year journey these machines will make under our city to deliver this brand new rail corridor.” Premier Mark McGowan said.

In the project’s biggest milestone to date, the first of two tunnel-boring machines (TBM’s) began its 8 km subterranean trip to Bayswater from the future Forrestfield Station site.

Forrestfield-Airport Rail Link will be comprised of twin rail tunnels, providing a direct link between the growing foothills and the CBD, with 3 new railway stations at

  • Belmont,
  • Airport Central,
  • Forrestfield.

“This is the biggest public transport project Perth has seen since construction of the Mandurah Line.” Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti said.

“That landmark project, which is 10-years-old in December, changed the face of the southern suburbs, created unprecedented growth and opened up whole new residential and business centres in the southern metropolitan region.”

TBM Grace, named after a local schoolgirl undergoing treatment for leukaemia, will drill the first of the two tunnels.

Grace’s peers nominated that the TBM be named after her because she is the toughest person they know a quality the machine also needs to bore the 8 km of tunnels.

A second TBM, Sandy, will be lowered into the 12 m-deep dive structure at Forrestfield in September to start drilling the second tunnel.

600-tonne, 130-metre-long machines are 2 of only 9 of their kind in the world and are designed to tunnel through the diverse ground conditions on the route.

Enormous machines are designed to simultaneously bore the tunnel, remove dirt and reinforce with concrete segments.

About 54,000 locally fabricated concrete tunnel segments will be installed to form the walls of the subway throughout the project, providing valuable jobs.

Meanwhile, a tunnelling crew of 18 will be overseeing the TBM operations at any one time.

WA Premier Mark McGowan

WA Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti








International tunnelling experts will train local employees throughout the project, so by the time the rail link is built, Western Australia will have a local workforce capable of delivering future tunnel projects.

“I have no doubt this groundbreaking project, part of our long-term METRONET plan for WA’s public transport network, will have the same transformative effect on the eastern foothills.” Ms. Saffioti said.

“We are building the public transport network that Perth needs and introducing world-class urban design.”

Public Transport Authority awarded the design, construct and 10-year maintenance contract to a Salini Impregilo-NRW Joint Venture (SI-NRW) in April 2016.

Project is jointly funded by the State ($1.37 Billion) and Federal ($490 Million) Governments.

“Federal Government has contributed $490 Million to the Forrestfield project and a further $792 Million towards other key components of METRONET, including the Yanchep and Thornlie line extensions.” Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said.