Metro Tunnel reaches 40 million hours as testing looms

Metro Tunnel construction

Metro Tunnel workers have just clocked 40 million hours of work on the city-shaping project as they prepare to start testing trains in the tunnels in the second half of the year.

Since work began in 2015, the team has dug the twin nine-kilometre tunnels under Melbourne, installed systems from signalling to the Victorian-first platform screen doors, and are bringing the five new underground stations – Arden, Parkville, State Library, Town Hall, and Anzac – from concept to reality.   

As work on the Metro Tunnel progresses, the focus is shifting from building the new tunnels and stations to making sure the high-tech signalling, communications and other systems that allow trains to run safely are working together effectively.

The modern signalling system is the first step towards a “turn-up-and-go” network for Melbourne, similar to other world-class cities like Singapore and London.

Everything from lifts, escalators, security systems, communications, lighting, plumbing, power and the platform screen doors will all be progressively tested in a rigorous process that will last many months.

Commuters along Royal Parade may have recently noticed a splash of colour at Parkville Station.

Eye-catching blue steelwork that will support three entrance canopies, providing easy access to the world-leading health and education precinct, has been installed as work rises out of the ground. The colour was chosen to match the existing landscape, including the blue of the University of Melbourne.

The main entrance on Grattan St will have a 54-metre-long glass and steel canopy to draw natural light into the station concourse.

The Metro Tunnel Project is creating around 7000 jobs for Victorians, including hundreds for apprentices, trainees and opportunities for Indigenous people and priority job seekers. 

When complete in 2025, the Metro Tunnel will create capacity for more than a half-a-million extra passengers on the rail network every week. From 2029, trains will run through the Metro Tunnel to Melbourne Airport, with the trip between the CBD to the airport taking around 30 minutes. •

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