Names For Metro Tunnel’s Boring Machines Revealed

12 February 2019

The first of the Metro Tunnel’s four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) has arrived in Melbourne and will soon begin tunnelling deep beneath the city.

With three more TBMs on the way, the Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Infrastructure Jacinta Allan today to reveal the names given to the massive machines following a public competition to honour ground-breaking women.

The Premier was joined by women’s cricket star Meg Lanning, who led Australia to victory at the recent ICC Women’s Twenty20 World Cup in the West Indies and is one of Victoria’s greatest cricketers.

Each TBM has its own coloured cutterhead – red, blue, green and yellow – which can grind through rock six times harder than concrete.

The red TBM – named Joan after former Premier Joan Kirner – arrived on Saturday 2 February. Next will be the blue TBM – named Meg after the captain of Australia’s women’s national cricket team Meg Lanning – already on its way to Australia. The green and yellow machines are named after wartime military nurse Alice Appleford, and Victoria’s first female MP Millie Peacock.

Meg Lanning is the youngest Australian – male or female ­– to score an international century. She also holds the record for most centuries in women’s one-day internationals. Joan Kirner was the 42nd Premier of Victoria and our state’s first female Premier, serving from 1990 to 1992.

Alice Appleford won the military Medal for Gallantry in the First World War and was also awarded the Florence Nightingale Medal. Millie Peacock was the first woman elected to the Victorian Parliament in 1933.

Tradition dictates that a TBM is given a female name before it can start tunnelling, granting good luck for the project ahead. The tradition dates from the 1500s when miners and military engineers using explosives for excavation prayed to Saint Barbara – the patron saint of tunnellers and miners.

Each custom-built TBM for the Metro Tunnel is 120 metres long, weighs more than 1,100 tonnes with a diameter of 7.28 metres, and is specifically designed to bore through Melbourne’s unique ground conditions.

The first TBM began the journey to Australia late last year with its pieces being progressively transported by truck from the Port of Melbourne to the North Melbourne Station construction site near Arden Street.

The red and blue TBMs will be launched from the North Melbourne site and the green and yellow machines will start from St Kilda Road at the site of the new underground Anzac Station. They will first travel away from the city, towards Kensington and South Yarra respectively, before being dismantled and trucked back to their starting points and relaunched towards the city.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews

“These four massive machines have been named after ground-breaking women who’ve made significant contributions to our state and our country.”

“We’re getting on with building the public transport Victoria needs so more trains can run more often to and from the suburbs.”

Quote attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan

“As we welcome our first TBM to help us get on with the Metro Tunnel, work is once again ramping up on removing level crossings and delivering road and rail upgrades throughout Victoria.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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