Rhonda Roadheader Breaks Through At Clyde


A significant tunnelling milestone has been achieved on the city-shaping Sydney Metro West project, with the completion of the first service tunnel that will link the 24km metro line to a new stabling and maintenance facility in Clyde.

A specialised roadheader tunnelling machine has broken through a wall of rock to create an entry point to the 700m long service tunnel. Trains will use this tunnel when departing the Metro West service facility to reach the main metro tunnels for passenger services.

The facility will be the core of the new Sydney Metro West network and incorporate its operational and maintenance functions, including the control centre and infrastructure to maintain the new fleet of metro trains.

It took 12 months to construct the first of the two service tunnels, with the 120-tonne roadheader excavating around 350 tonnes of rock per day, equivalent in weight to 70 African elephants.

The roadheader was named Rhonda by Teddy Smith, 4, who won a colouring-in competition run by delivery partners Gamuda Laing O’Rourke Consortium. Teddy chose the name Rhonda in honour of his grandmother.

The machine will next focus on excavating the service tunnel that trains will use when arriving at the service facility for stabling and maintenance.

Roadheader Rhonda is working alongside roadheaders Charlotte and Ivory to build the service tunnels and junction caverns. So far, the machines have excavated a combined 200,000 tonnes of material from deep below Western Sydney.

In the coming months, work will continue in the service tunnels to line the walls with 3600 concrete segments manufactured in Metro West’s purpose-built precast facility in Eastern Creek.

The segments each weigh 6 tonnes and will be lifted into place by a specialised Lining Erecting Machine (LEM), an innovation which is a first for a metro project. The machine works like a robot arm, picking up the concrete segments and placing them in position with a vacuum plate.

Sydney Metro West is expected to be complete by 2032. When it opens, fast and reliable metro services will double rail capacity between Greater Parramatta and the Sydney CBD.

Sydney Metro West reaffirms the NSW Government’s commitment to building more housing in the right places, where people want to live – to improve affordability, reduce building and infrastructure costs and create thriving communities.

This includes a proposal, which was brought to the NSW Government by the ATC, centring around the potential to build more than 25,000 new homes on the Rosehill Racecourse site and would allow the government to explore the feasibility of a new Metro West Station at Rosehill.

For more information about Sydney Metro West visit the Sydney Metro website.

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen said:

“Rhonda the Roadheader is making strides in her all-important task of building the Metro West service tunnels that will play a key role in keeping this world-class network operating once passenger services begin.

“Western Sydney will soon have a brand-new railway with up to 41 new metro trains and a supersized service facility which will be essential to its operations.

“By 2036, when Metro West has been up and running for 4 years, 30,000 people each hour will travel on the new line during the morning peak. It will completely transform how this city moves by easing pressure on our roads and existing train lines.”

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