Tunneling work for the 23-km (14.3-mile) line of the Sydney Metro-Western Sydney Airport project began on July 4 with a pair of 1,066-t (1,175-st) tunnel boring machines (TBMs) named Eileen and Peggy beginning their work. Sydney Metro reported that ts started their journeys at the future Airport Business Park Station, carving out the first 5.5-km (3.4-mile) sections of the twin metro tunnels toward the Aerotropolis.
As is tunneling tradition across the world, these TBMs are named after women to bring luck to the workers who look to Saint Barbara for protection.
TBM Eileen pays tribute to the first female Mayor of Penrith, Eileen Cammack OBE, who also established the first pathology laboratory at Nepean District Hospital. TBM Peggy honors pioneer aviator Peggy Kelman OBE, who was instrumental in promoting female aviation and was a flying companion of Nancy-Bird Walton.
The TBMs will excavate around 120 m/week (390 ft/week) of tunnels, the first step in delivering the six new metro stations along the line from St Marys to the center of the new Aerotropolis.
This project will support more than 14,000 jobs during construction, including 250 new apprentices, with at least 20 percent of the contract workforce coming from local communities.
The Sydney Metro-Western Sydney Airport line will be operational when Western Sydney International Airport opens for passenger services, with an expected travel time of 15 minutes from St Marys metro station to Airport Terminal Station and a further five minutes to the Aerotropolis Station.