Melbourne Metro Tunnel reaches 30 million hours milestone

State Library Station February 2020.
The new State Library Station, February 2020. Image courtesy of Metro Tunnel.

Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel project has been in the making for almost 30 million hours – the equivalent of keeping more than 2,500 people in full time work for the six years – since the project began.

The project is adding five new underground stations in the busy Metropolitan Melbourne, with the nine-kilometre twin rail tunnel running from the west of the city to the south-east as part of a new Sunbury to Cranbourne/Pakenham line.

Yesterday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews marked his return to office from a three-month medical leave by attending a media conference at the site of one of the new Metro Tunnel train stations, indicating that he wants Victoria’s Big Build project to be his legacy.

“This is the biggest public project in our state’s history,” he noted.

The Premier also met some of the project’s 900 apprentices, cadets and trainees, who have been given an early career boost by the chance to work on this city-changing project.

“Our major transport infrastructure projects are keeping around 18,000 people in jobs and supporting around 36,000 indirect jobs across Victoria, with massive flow-on effects for our economy,” the Premier said.

“Our Big Build project teams have done an incredible job of adapting to the unprecedented challenges of the past 18 months, keeping Victorians in work and delivering critical infrastructure for the future of our state.”

“Projects like the Metro Tunnel will deliver what we need to run more trains, more often to the suburbs – while giving hundreds of young Victorians a high skilled job.”

After the completion of TBM tunnelling in May, Arden Station is now taking shape with the platforms being constructed and the Laurens Street station entrance ground floor slab poured. The twin tunnels are now being fitted out with base slabs and steel brackets to house high voltage power cords.

Tunnel entrances at South Yarra and Kensington are now complete and connected to the main tunnels.

Construction is well underway on 26 cross passages – short tunnels that connect the main rail tunnels so people and emergency services can move between them in case of an incident.

Work is ramping up on the project’s five new underground stations, with the final stages of excavation underway and work continuing to build walls, roof structures, entrances and platforms.

Once the station structures are well advanced, crews will fit them out with electrical, mechanical and ventilation systems, as well as the next-generation signalling and train control technology needed for future High Capacity Metro Trains to be used on the line.

Installation of the systems will be an incredibly complex job, with each system needing to function and interact safely with all the others and the existing network.

Once the tunnels and stations are fully fitted out, a long period of testing will ensure that the systems are integrated and talking to each other so that the newest part of Melbourne’s rail network can be operated safely and reliably.

Completion of the project in 2025 – a year ahead of schedule – will transform how Melburnians move around the city.

Metro Tunnel passengers at CBD stations will be able to connect to City Loop services via underground pedestrian links at Flinders Street and Melbourne Central stations, and people will be able to catch a train to Parkville, Arden and St Kilda Road for the first time.


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