Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel is on schedule to start testing trains in the second half of 2023, with crews having worked 40 million hours of labor on the project.
The Metro Tunnel’s stations are taking shape fast, with teams still laboring around the clock to make the twin 9km tunnels prepared for the first test trains.
Daniel Andrews, Victorian Premier, stated: “We’re a year ahead of schedule on the Metro Tunnel project, the biggest transformation of our rail network since the City Loop – it’s incredible to see it taking shape beneath our feet thanks to millions of hours from dedicated crews.”
As advancement carries on, the emphasis of the project is shifting from constructing the tunnels and stations to assuring the high-tech signaling, communications, and other systems that enable trains to operate safely are in place – seeking to make Melbourne a “turn-up-and-go” network, similar to the world-class commuter cities like London and Singapore.
In addition, everything from escalators, security systems, lifts, communications, lighting, plumbing, power and the platform screen doors will be progressively tested in a rigorous process over many months before the Metro Tunnel commences– a year before schedule – in 2025.
From 2015, once the work started, workforces have excavated the twin tunnels beneath Melbourne, installed the Victorian-first platform screen doors, and are now bringing the five new underground stations – Arden, Parkville, State Library and Town Hall and Anzac – from idea to reality.
The most advanced of the five new underground stations is Arden Station which is being constructed as part of the Metro Tunnel, assembling the centerpiece of the Arden Precinct – a giant urban renewal project on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD.
The construction’s significant structural elements are completed, and work is underway on architectural features and testing the station’s platform screen doors, escalators and lifts.
The Metro Tunnel Project is generating about 7,000 jobs for Victorians, containing hundreds for apprentices, trainees and opportunities for Indigenous people and priority job seekers.
Jacinta Allan, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure, claimed: “Victoria’s Big Build infrastructure projects are keeping more than 20,000 people employed – and for every 100 direct jobs, an average of 200 are supported across the economy.”
Once finished in 2025, the Metro Tunnel will make capacity for over half a million additional passengers on the rail network every week.