Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Meg has begun digging as part of the Metro Tunnel Project after months of assembly and commissioning.
Meg, named after Australian women’s cricket captain Meg Lanning, has already excavated 50 metres of tunnel and installed more than 20 rings to form the walls of the structure.
Each tunnel ring comprises six concrete segments, which are manufactured at a facility in Deer Park. The Metro Tunnel project as a whole will use more than 56,000 segments in its construction.
Meg is moving towards the tunnel entrance in Kensington, following TBM Joan, named after Victoria’s first female Premier Joan Kirner, which has travelled more than 250 metres west from North Melbourne and installed more than 140 rings to line the new tunnel.
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The TBMs are powered by an electrical substation, with both machines constantly working to build the twin nine-kilometre tunnels. Each TBM is 7.28 metres in diameter, 120 metres long and weighs more than 1,100 tonnes.
Kensington will be the western entrance to the metro tunnel, with the machines expected to arrive in early 2020. They will then be transferred to the North Melbourne site to be re-launched towards Parkville.
Early next year, two more TBMs will be assembled at the Anzac Station site on St Kilda Road, to start boring towards the eastern entrance at South Yarra.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the TBMs are building the biggest public transport project in Victoria’s history.
“It’s amazing to see how much work is happening underneath Melbourne, to build the Metro Tunnel and deliver more frequent, reliable trains every day.”