The first service tunnel to connect Sydney’s 24km Metro West line to a new stabling and maintenance facility at Clyde has been completed.

A roadheader called Rhonda broke through a wall of rock to complete the 700m-long service tunnel after 12 months of excavation.

Trains will use the tunnel when departing the service facility that will be at the core of the new Metro West network. The tunnel will house operational and maintenance functions, including the operations control centre and infrastructure to maintain the new fleet of metro trains.

Roadheader Rhonda is working alongside roadheaders Charlotte and Ivory to build the service tunnels and junction caverns. So far, the machines have excavated a combined 200,000 tonnes of material.

In the coming months, work will continue to build the second service tunnel and line the walls with 3,600 concrete segments manufactured in Metro West’s purpose-built precast facility in Eastern Creek.

The segments each weigh six tonnes and will be lifted into place by a specialised lining erecting machine, an innovation which is a first for a Metro project. The machine works like a robot arm, picking up the concrete segments and placing them in position with a vacuum plate.

Sydney Metro West is expected to be complete by 2032. It will double rail capacity between Greater Parramatta and the Sydney CBD. The project’s delivery partner is a Gamuda Laing O’Rourke Consortium.