Progress on the future Airport Terminal station made a significant leap forward with mega-machine TBM Peggy smashing through at the future Airport Terminal station.

In a major milestone for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project, the 1,066-tonne machine completed the first leg of its 5.5-kilometre journey to the Aerotropolis, following TBM Eileen, who made her historic first breakthrough last month.

Peggy has worked around the clock at an average speed of 120 metres per week to build the fully lined 1.26-kilometre tunnel from the Airport Business Park, excavating around 112,000 tonnes of rock – enough to fill about 18 Olympic swimming pools.

“We are thrilled to be shaping the future of this vibrant and growing region with reliable and fully accessible metro services, ready for when planes start taking off at the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport,” Federal Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister Catherine King said.

TBM Peggy is named after Peggy Kelman OAM, an Australian aviation pioneer and adventurer, who was a friend of Nancy-Bird Walton, the namesake of the new international airport.

In preparation for Peggy’s arrival, approximately 293,000 tonnes of rock (about 48 Olympic swimming pools) have been excavated from the 25-metre-deep Airport Terminal station box.

The enormous machine will now traverse the station box before being relaunched, to tunnel under the future Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, with the TBM expected to arrive at the Aerotropolis metro station site in 2024.

A total of four TBMs will build the 9.8-kilometre-long twin tunnels for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport railway line between St Marys and the Aerotropolis.

TBM Eileen is carving the metro tunnel alongside TBM Peggy from Airport Business Park to the Aerotropolis. TBM Catherine and TBM Marlene have begun their 4.3-kilometre journey from Orchard Hills to St Marys.

A joint venture between CPB Contractors and Ghella was awarded the $1.8 billion Station Boxes and Tunnelling contract in 2021 to deliver 9.8 kilometres of twin metro tunnels, five station boxes and two services facilities shafts for the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport project.

The line will be operational when Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport opens for passenger services in 2026, with an expected travel time of 15 minutes from St Mary’s metro station to the Airport Terminal Station and a further five minutes to the Aerotropolis Station.

“The community benefit, as the Western Sydney Nancy–Bird Walton International Airport continues toward completion, are immense,” Federal Member for Werriwa Anne Stanley said.

“Our residents are looking forward to the opportunities, jobs for the future, as well as the construction jobs which support families and the economy in Western Sydney. “

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen said that this city-shaping project is supporting the local economy with more than 14,000 jobs generated during construction, including 250 new apprentices and at least 20 per cent of the contract workforce coming from Greater Western Sydney.

“This project is making Western Sydney the doorway to the rest of the world, and we can’t wait to see it continue to take shape,” Ms Haylen said.