Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities The Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime MinisterMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Minister for Regional ServicesMinister for SportMinister for Local Government and Decentralisation The Hon Alan Tudge MP Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population The Hon Sussan Ley MP Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories The Hon Andrew Broad MP Former Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Scott Buchholz MP Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport The Hon Barnaby Joyce MPFormer Deputy Prime MinisterFormer Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Dr John McVeigh MPFormer Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government The Hon Keith Pitt MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Damian Drum MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Former Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Darren Chester MP Former Minister for Infrastructure and TransportFormer A/g Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer A/g Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Warren Truss MP Former Deputy Prime Minister Former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Former Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities The Hon Jamie Briggs MP Former Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Tunnel boring machine Sandy begins its journey at Forrestfield

Media Release


24 October 2017

Joint release with:

Rita Saffioti

WA Minister for Transport; Planning; Lands

  • Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Sandy begins underground journey from Forrestfield
  • Follows launch of first TBM Grace in July
  • $1.86 billion Forrestfield-Airport Link project jointly funded by the Western Australian ($1.37b) and Australian ($490m) governments

A second TBM has officially begun tunnelling at Forrestfield, as part of the $1.86 billion METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link project.

TBM Sandy was launched from the 12-metre-deep dive structure at the site of the future Forrestfield Station today. Sandy—named by High Wycombe Primary School Year 4 student Sarah Spratt—is named after the local digging insect the ‘Sandgroper’.

TBM Grace, named after local schoolgirl Grace McPhee, was launched on July 30, starting a two-year journey to Bayswater where the 8.5-kilometre Forrestfield-Airport Link will spur off the Midland Line.

Grace began tunnelling in earnest in August, and has now travelled around 620 metres in to the earth. The machine is currently travelling around 20 metres per day.

The two TBMs will each tunnel eight kilometres under Perth Airport and the Swan River, linking new stations at Forrestfield, Airport Central and Belmont.

Construction of diaphragm walls (which will house the station box structure) is now complete at Airport Central, and excavation of the soil inside the walls has begun. Diaphragm walls are also under construction at Belmont, and are about 70 per cent complete.

As the TBM cutter heads bore through the earth, the machines will also install about 54,000 reinforced concrete tunnel segments, and now that the two TBMs have launched, segment production has ramped up.

About 5,750 segments of the 54,000 needed to complete the tunnel structure have already been fabricated at a local Forrestfield segment facility.

More information is available at

Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

“TBM Sandy is the second and final boring machine to be launched as part of this landmark WA rail project.

“From now on, as the construction of the three train stations on the Forrestfield-Airport Link ticks on above ground, underneath the surface Grace and Sandy will be boring and reinforcing the foundation of the tunnels which trains will run through in only three years' time.

“It's yet another landmark on this exciting, job-creating, suburb-transforming METRONET project.”

Comments attributed to Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher:

“The new METRONET line will provide a 20-minute direct link between the eastern foothills and the CBD—as well as the wider public transport network—via the airport. About 2000 jobs will be created as part of the project.

“Grace is expected to break into the station box at Airport Central Station in early 2018, with Sandy following shortly after.”