Tunnelling hits State Library Station

As construction of the rail tunnels for Metro Tunnel project continues a year ahead of schedule under the streets of Melbourne, the project’s first tunnel boring machine has arrived at the new State Library Station site.

Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Joan, named after Victoria’s first female premier, Joan Kirner, bored into the station’s cavern 32 metres under Franklin and Swanston streets after tunnelling one kilometre from the Parkville Station site.

TBM Meg – named for Australian cricket captain Meg Lanning – is close behind, tunnelling on a parallel route and expected to arrive at State Library in early 2021.

The project’s third TBM, Millie, was launched from the Anzac Station site on St Kilda Road in early December to tunnel towards Town Hall Station, with TBM4 Alice to follow. 

The Metro Tunnel will feature two CBD stations to connect passengers to City Loop services at Melbourne Central and Flinders Street stations: State Library Station at the northern end of Swanston Street and Town Hall Station on the southern end of Swanston Street.

Crews finished excavating the rail tunnels at State Library Station in early December, revealing the station’s 29m-wide trinocular design of three intersecting tunnels that will soon integrate the platforms and concourse on a single level.

The Town Hall and State Library platforms will be among the widest in the world, ensuring plenty of space for the thousands of passengers that will use them every day. More than 75,000 cubic metres of rock and soil have been excavated to create a space more than 240 metres long and 30 metres wide.

TBM Joan will now be transferred through the State Library Station site before being relaunched on her final leg towards Town Hall Station next year.

Meanwhile, crews are continuing work underground to build columns and roof beams at State Library in preparation to install the concrete lining on the station’s central arch.

State Library Station will include an underground passenger connection to the City Loop via Melbourne Central Station, and provide easy access to RMIT, the State Library of Victoria and Melbourne City Baths.

The station precinct will be transformed to provide better spaces for pedestrians, cyclists and residents, with wider footpaths, dedicated cycle lanes and 3,500 square metres of new public space.

The Metro Tunnel Project will create additional capacity for more than half a million passengers a week during peak periods and transform the way Victorians travel around Melbourne – cutting journey times by up to 50 minutes each day.