A major rail project that will link the new airport which is currently being built in Western Sydney with metropolitan rail services has reached a significant milestone.

Last week, Tunnel Boring Machine Peggy (TBM Peggy) broke though at the Airport Terminal station – one of six new stations that is being delivered as part of the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project.

TBM Peggy has now become the second of two machines to have reached the Airport Terminal station (see top image).

The first tunnel boring machine – named TBM Eileen – broke through at the new station site last month.

Set to open in 2026, the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project will become a major transport spine for the rapidly expanding Greater Western Sydney region.

It will connect the new Western Sydney International (Nancy Walton) Airport and Aerotropolis with existing metropolitan rail services at St Marys (see map below) station via a 23-kilometre rail line and six new stations.

When complete, the new line will provide travel times to St Marys of fifteen minutes from the Airport and 20 minutes from the Aerotropolis.

From St Mary’s, passengers will be able to transfer to regular metropolitan services to connect with the CBD and elsewhere across Sydney (see map).

(artist impression of future Airport Terminal station)

The project is part of the broader Sydney Metro project, which commenced in 2013 and will deliver around 113 kilometres of new track and 46 stations along four metro lines by 2030.

Work on the rail line is coinciding with broader works that include construction of the new airport along with development of an Aerotropolis that will deliver a massive new hub of commercial, industrial, retail, residential, recreational and agricultural activity surrounding the airport.

Both the new airport and the new rail line are expected to open in 2026.

The contract to build the tunnels was awarded to CPB Contractors and Ghella as part of a joint venture in 2021.

Under this $1.8 billon package, CPB and Ghella are delivering 9.8 kilometres of twin metro tunnels, five station boxes and two services facilities shafts.

(map of the new Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport line)

Following her breakthrough at the Airport Terminal Station, TBM Peggy has now completed the first leg of her 5.5-kilometre journey through to the Aerotropolis station.

This comes after TBM Eileen earlier broke through at the Airport Terminal Station last month.

All up, four TBMs are being used to construct the 9.8-kilometre twin tunnels for the project.

TBMs Peggy and Eileen are carving the twin tunnels from Airport Business Park to the Aerotropolis.

Two other TBMs – named Catherine and Marlene – have begun their 4.3-kilometre journey from Orchard Hills to St Marys.

(TBM Peggy at launch)

Weighing a massive 1,066 tonnes, TBM Peggy has worked around the clock at an average speed of 120 meters per week to construct the fully lined 1.26-kilometre tunnel from the Airport Business Park to the Airport Termina Station.

Over this time, she has excavated around 112,000 tonnes of rock – enough to fill about 18 Olympic sized swimming pools.

In preparation for Peggy’s arrival, approximately 293,000 tonnes of rock (about 48 Olympic swimming pools) have been excavated from the 25-metre-deep Airport Terminal station box.

The machine will now traverse the station box before being relaunched to tunnel under the future Western Sydney International (Nancy Bird Walton) Airport.

She will arrive at the site of the Aerotropolis metro station in 2024.

TBM Peggy is named after Peggy Kelman OAM – an Australian aviation pioneer and adventurer as well as a friend of Nancy-Bird Walton – the namesake of the new international airport which is set to open in 2026.

All up, around 14,000 jobs will be generated during construction of the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport rail project.

This will include 250 new apprentices whilst at least 20 percent of the contract workforce will come from Greater Western Sydney.

(Tunnel from Airport Business Park to Airport Terminal)

Commonwealth Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King welcomed the latest milestone.

“The spectacular arrival of TBM Peggy marks the fantastic progress underway on this vital 23-kilometre transport link, which will not only benefit Greater Western Sydney residents, but for those visiting from around the globe,” King said.

“We are thrilled to be shaping the future of this vibrant and growing region with reliable and fully accessible metro services, ready for when planes start taking off at the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.”


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