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In the early afternoon of May 9 tunnel boring machine (TBM) Grace arrived at Redcliffe Station, breaking through the one metre thick eastern station box wall to a cheering crowd of excited team members.
It was guided into the station over a period of 24 hours, with a team of 15 inside the machine for the final breakthrough.
This is only the second time that TBM Grace has ‘surfaced’ since beginning tunnelling at Forrestfield mid-2017 – a major milestone for the Forrestfield-Airport Link project.
After tunnelling more than 2.6km and building in excess of 1600 concrete rings since leaving Airport Central Station, TBM Grace will now undergo approximately six weeks of scheduled maintenance.
During this time she will receive a clean, worn cutter head tools will be replaced, and routine servicing and testing of mechanical and electrical equipment will be conducted as well as being fitted with a brand new screw conveyor.
TBM Sandy is approximately 500 metres behind and is expected to break through early next month. By then, the machines will have installed a combined 5500 concrete rings, made up of 33000 tunnel segments, since starting their tunnelling journeys.
Following maintenance, the TBM’s will begin the final leg of their journey, under the Swan River and on to the Bayswater dive structure, where it will connect to the Midland Line.
Redcliffe Station will eventually service more than 5,000 employees, while more than 7,800 new residents are expected to move to the immediate area once fully developed. The station will form the centre of one of METRONET's first transport oriented developments - a precinct of apartments, shops and entertainment where walking, cycling and public transport are made easy.
The first trains are expected to run on the Forrestfield-Airport Link project in the second half of 2021.
View the video of TBM’s breakthrough here.