Metro Tunnels might utilise tunnel locos?

Philip G Graham

Oops, a difficult topic that one of the previous discussion! Hopefully this entry can be an example of keeping this site flowing with interesting information and discussion.

Just expanding a little on some notes with backgrounds outlining the possibilities of some industrial light rail construction railways being utilized on the three tunnel projects currently under way in Australia. Early days yet, but proving to be difficult to determine.


Public Transport Authority Perth, Forrestfield-Airport Link - SI/NRW jv (C) - Herrenknecht TBM-VariableDensity-Shield 6.2m od x 2 x {8 000 m total} (7/17~_/1x) {SI/NRW=Salini Impregilo/NRW Construction jv}

This project is actually tunneling at the moment, however there are no suitable photos of the operations at rear of the TBM to indicate if tunnel locos are being used? Could anyone from our WA members get a closer look to see if this is the case?


Melbourne Metro Rail Authority, MetroTunnels, South Kensington~South Yarra  - Cross Yarra Partnership jv (C) - NFM(?) TBM EPB-Slurry-Shield x.xx m od x 4 x {8 400 m total} (_/18~_/2x) {CYP=Lendlease Engineering/John Holland/Buoygues Construction/Capella Capital jv}

TBM #1W (i) Arden{LS}~South Kensington; (ii) Arden{LS}~Parkville~CBD North
TBM #2W (i) Arden{LS}~South Kensington; (ii) Arden{LS}~Parkville~CBD North

TBM #3E (i) Domain{LS}~South Yarra; (ii) Domain{LS}~CBD South
TBM #4E (i) Domain{LS}~SthYarra; (ii) Domain{LS}~CBD South

A little disappointing from a light rail ethusiast's point-of-view. MetroTunnels by selecting CYP has gone for the French partner, Buoygues, who were a partner in the Sydney Airport Link tunnel project. These people have, in the more recent past in other world projects, gone towards extensively using the pneumatic-tyred "Multi Purpose Vehicle" (MPV or MFV) such as those of Techni-Metal or Metalliance or similar to handle ring segment deliveries and grouting materials up to the TBM's back-up area. It looks like, as with Sydney North West Metro, they will be using NFM TBMs from France (TBA).

MetroTunnels themselves have provided mixed messages on this, as some of their graphics and videos (originating from the Crossrail project in London) show both narrow gauge construction railway [conrail] with loco-hauled stock (Crossrail); and also with the rubber-tyred vehicles running on the raw concrete tunnel rings (ie no conrail trackage as with Sydney NWM).


Sydney Metro, City & Southwest line, Chatswood~Marrackville - JHCPBG jv (C) - TBM DoubleShield 7.0 m od x 4 x X XXX m (_1x~_/1x); TBM Hybrid MixedShield/Slurry 7.0 m od x 1 x 700 m {15 500 m total} (_/19~_/19) {JHCPBG=John Holland/CPB Contractors/Ghella jv}

TBM #1N Chatswood{LS}~Blues Point (TBM DoubleShield)
TBM #2N Chatswood{LS}~Blues Point (TBM DoubleShield)

TBM #3H (i) Barangaroo{LS}~Blues Point (TBM Hybrid MixedShield/Slurry)
TBM #3H (ii) Barangaroo{LS}~Blues Point

TBM #4S Marrackville{LS}~Barangaroo (TBM DoubleShield)
TBM #5S Marrackville{LS}~Barangaroo (TBM DoubleShield)

For the newer Sydney Metro City & Southwest line Project Ghella will be the actual TBM operators, they have usually had narrow gauge construction railway [conrail] with loco-hauled stock servicing their TBM projects, so perhaps a better chance of conrail developments on this part Sydney Metro - after the disappointing number of 'MPV' units used on the Sydney North West project. The TBMs (TBA) may come from either NFM or Herrenknecht (or perhaps nominally Australian Terratec will get their first Australian lookin?).


Stuart Thyer

Hi Phil

The WestConnex project seems to be clearing a very large site between Sydenham and St Peters stations on the west side, plus a smaller site on the east. In my very regular travels past the site, I’ll keep an eye out for anything rail related. There are some curved yellow machine segments stored near the rail line already, which suggest tunnelling equipment of some sort.