Media Statements | 15 May 2017

On Saturday 13 May Transport Minister Rita Saffioti announced the arrival of our first tunnel boring machine. 


  • ​First tunnel boring machine (TBM) for Forrestfield-Airport Link has arrived in Perth
  • The machine will be assembled and tested, before starting operations at Forrestfield
  • $1.86 billion project with $490 million Federal Government contribution

Key components of a 600-tonne tunnel boring machine have been delivered to the future Forrestfield Station, marking a major milestone in the delivery of the $1.86 billion Forrestfield-Airport Link.

The $20 million machine is one of two TBMs which will each dig eight kilometres of seven-metre diameter tunnels - including under Perth Airport and the Swan River. 

The highly specialised machine, one of only nine of its kind in the world, was manufactured by German company Herrenknecht.  It spent nine months in China for initial assembly and testing, and arrived at Henderson last week.

The TBM will be craned into the dive structure at Forrestfield, and in July 2017 will begin its two-year journey underground to Bayswater where the rail line will spur off the Midland Line.

A video of the heaviest components of the TBM, the 164-tonne front shield and the 143-tonne middle shield (each seven metres in diameter), being delivered is available at


Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

"The TBMs use new dual-mode, variable-density technology, which is important given the varied ground conditions between Forrestfield and Bayswater.

"The machines will tunnel under Perth Airport and the Swan River, reaching a depth of 25 metres, and the conditions underground on the route are incredibly diverse - ranging from sandy material to clays and rock, all under water.

"The Salini Impregilo-NRW Joint Venture has adopted the latest technology, which enables the TBM to bore through these variable soils."


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