Single company sweeps Sydney TBM order 17 Sep 2013
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
- All four TBMs for the North West Rail Link (NWRL) project in Sydney, Australia have been awarded to a single company. That company is NFM Technologies of France, which confirmed the €40 million order as its first in Australia.
- TBM excavation of the 15km of twin running tunnels of the North West Rail Link in Sydney is under way following launch of the first machine.
- The launch - four months ahead of schedule - follows seven weeks of assembly. Two of the remaining three 6.99m diameter double shield NFM machines that have been procured for the project are expected to launch before the end of this year.
- TBM Elizabeth will drive 9km, at an average advance rate of 120m/wk, from the project's western portal at Bella Vista, passing through three new stations at Norwest, Hills Centre and Castle Hill before ending her journey at Cherrybrook.
- New South Wales Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian were at the launch ceremony. "I'm delighted to be standing here as the first massive TBM begins its historic journey excavating Australia's longest ever rail tunnels," said Baird.
- The 6.99m diameter double shield machines, which have been ordered by the Thiess/John Holland/Dragados (TJHD) construction joint venture, will be designed at the NFM factory in Le Creusot, France, where a "small number" of parts will also be manufactured for onward shipping to China in January 2014. The cutterheads, back-up and shields will be manufactured in China, where the machines will be assembled, tested, then each one disassembled into 38 large pieces and 10 further 40ft shipping containers for onward shipping to Port Botany, Australia.
- "The machines will bore at an average of 27m below the ground surface in rock that is mainly formed of extremely abrasive sandstone," NFM project manager Fabrice Therville told TunnelTalk. "The deepest point of the tunnels is 63m. TBMs 1 and 2 will work on the 9km section between the new Bella Vista and Cherrybrook stations, while the remaining 6km between Cherrybrook and Epping will be bored by machines 3 and 4. The first tunnel boring machine will be delivered before the end of 2014, with the remainder to follow soon after. NFM was selected according to the technical proposition and the quality of its construction skills. It's not the biggest single order NFM has received, but it is the first for the Australian market," said Therville.
- According to the project owner, the Government of New South Wales, the cutterheads will be transported separately to either Port of Newcastle or Port Kembla, from where they will face a logistically challenging journey on a heavy lift semi-trailer to the job sites in the northwest suburbs of the city.
- In June this year (2013) the TJHD JV was awarded the Aus$1.15 billion contract to excavate through Sydney sandstone the 15km of continuous twin running tunnels between Bella Vista and Epping, which, once completed, will be the longest rail tunnels in Australia, and also the deepest. The contract also includes construction of five new underground stations.
Four TBM drive strategy for NWRL tunnels
- Australian construction company Baulderstone is already working to complete the TBM launch sites and other early civil works as part of a separate Aus$70 million contract.
- "The North West Rail Link is the biggest public transport infrastructure project in Sydney since the Harbour Bridge almost a century ago," said New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell. "The first tunnel boring machine will be in the ground next year and the three others will follow soon after. This is an important development in this exciting project," he added.
- The full scope of the completed Aus$8.5 billion NWRL includes laying 23km of new track between Cudgegong Road and Epping, 15km of which will be in twin-running TBM-bored segmentally lined tunnels. A total of 39km of conveyor belt systems will be required to transport excavated material out of the tunnels. The remaining 8km of project alignment will be a mixture of at-grade and elevated track, plus the upgrade of 15km of existing line linking Epping with suburban Chatswood in north Sydney. From Chatswood passengers will be able to access the city and CBD areas by changing trains.
First TBM launches 9 Sep 2014
Sydney awards billion dollar rail mega-project - TunnelTalk, June 2013
Jacobs takes North West Rail Link contracts - TunnelTalk, July 2013
Three vie to build longest rail tunnel in Australia - TunnelTalk, September 2012
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