Final rail delivery to Metro Tunnel marks new milestone

122 Column Metro Tunnel
122 Column Metro Tunnel

Around 18km of rail was delivered to the Metro Tunnel’s eastern entrance in South Yarra last month, with work starting in October to install the rail that will carry trains through the new tunnel.

More than 100 lengths of rail – each made of Australian steel and measuring 65m – were delivered over four nights to the eastern entrance, before crews unloaded and stacked them ready for use.

This follows the first rail delivery in February at the tunnels’ western entrance in Kensington, making a total of 40km of rail now waiting to be laid.

The track design being used in the Metro Tunnel is more modern and requires less maintenance than conventional tracks that use sleepers and rocks, making it ideal for tunnels.

Crews have been working in recent months to lay high-performance precast concrete panels through the twin tunnels as a base for the rail.

There are 4000 concrete panels, cast in 300 different shapes to account for the varying curvature and elevation of the tunnels as they wind from Kensington to South Yarra up to 30m underground.

To install the rail, workers will progressively clip each 65m length to the concrete panels and weld them together to form a continuous rail line along the length of the tunnels.

Overhead power and high-tech signalling are also being installed through the tunnels and stations, as the project prepares for train testing to start in the tunnels in 2023.

At Anzac Station on St Kilda Rd the station canopy is nearing completion, after 4500kg timber cross beams were craned in to form the main structure, followed by the installation of beams, panels and skylights. 

Below ground, the station concourse is taking shape with stairs and escalators now installed and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems being fitted out. 

With the acoustic shed covering the Anzac Station site gone, the next shed to be removed will be at City Square in the heart of the CBD, at the site of the new Town Hall Station.

Crews have finished installing two 50m-high tower cranes atop 15m-high gantries on the edge of Swanston St, where the shed has sat for the past three years.

The cranes will be used to dismantle the acoustic shed piece by piece over several months, starting in mid-September.

When it opens in 2025, the Metro Tunnel will create capacity for more than half a million extra passengers a week during peak times across the city’s train network. •

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