TBM Grace, one of the giant machines drilling the Forrestfield-Airport Link tunnels, began its 8km underground trip to Bayswater from the future Forrestfield Station site.
Two of only nine of their kind in the world, the 600-tonne, 130 metre long tunnel-boring machines (TBM) are designed to tunnel through the diverse ground conditions on the route.
The TBM was named after Grace, a local schoolgirl undergoing treatment for leukaemia. Grace’s school friends suggested the TBM be named after her because she is the toughest person they know - a quality the machine also needs.
A second TBM, Sandy, will be lowered in to the 12m-deep dive structure at the Forrestfield Station site in the coming months to start drilling the second tunnel.
A tunnelling crew of 18 at any one time will oversee the enormous machines as they simultaneously bore the tunnel, remove dirt and reinforce with concrete segments.
International tunnelling experts will train local employees throughout the project, so by the time the rail link is built, WA will have a local workforce capable of delivering future tunnel projects.More information is available on the Forrestfield-Airport Link website.