A major Sydney rail line has been picked up and moved in 48 hours.

Last week, the section of track between Chatswood and Artemon on the northbound side of the 130-year-old year-old Sydney Trains T1 North Shore Line was cut and moved to connect with new tracks 20 metres to the west.

The move was necessary to enable the new Sydney Metro line to be extended from the city’s north west into the CBD and beyond to Bankstown in the south-west.

It needed to be done because the existing track, which was built in 1890, had been effectively blocking the new metro in the city-bound direction.

All up, 250 workers were involved in the operation which took 48 hours to complete.

The workers had to cut, slew and join the existing suburban line with almost 900 meters of new track and about 2.5 kilometres of overhead wiring.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance applauded efforts of all involved.

“We’ve essentially picked up and moved one of Sydney’s oldest and busiest railway lines, which was an amazing feat of engineering and required incredibly hard work from the 250 local workers involved,” he said.

Video showing the relocation can be seen here.

The works were completed as part of the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project, which will deliver a new dedicated metro service with new trains from Chatswood just north of the CBD through to Bankstown in the south-west under Sydney Harbour and via the CBD.

It is being delivered in two sections.

The Chatswood to Sydenham section involves delivery of two new 15.5-kilometre tunnels along with new stations at Crows Nest, Victoria Cross, Barangaroo, Martin Place, Pitt Street and Waterloo and new underground platforms at Central Station.

Tunnelling for this section was completed last year, and work is underway to convert the tunnels and underground stations into a working metro railway.

So far, almost 11 kilometres of track and 10,000 railway sleepers have been installed.

In addition to the new line to Sydenham, the Sydney Metro will be extended further westward to Bankstown through an upgrade to the existing T3 Bankstown Line.

The upgrade will bring the line up to Sydney Metro standards and enable it to cater for the new trains.

The Sydney Metro City & Southwest project is part of the broader Sydney Metro project, which will connect the Sydney CBD with Tallawong in the north-west, Parramatta in the west and Bankstown in the south-west and will also link the new airport which is set to open in 2026 in with existing rail.

Starting from Sydney’s rapidly expanding north-west region, Sydney Metro will run under Sydney Harbour, through new underground stations in the CBD and beyond to the south west (see map).

It will also connect with the rapidly expanding Parramatta and will provide connections with the new airport in the outer west to existing metro services.

Sydney Metro map

All up, the project will deliver 31 new stations and 66 new kilometres of track.

Once the southwest section opens in 2024, the number of train services which will be able to run into the Sydney CBD will increase from around 120 per hour to 200 per hour.

The northwest section opened in 2019 whilst the extension to Parramatta will open in 2030.

Upon its opening in 2024, the new line will deliver fifteen trains every hour during peak hour and will enable commuters to turn up and board a train every four minutes.