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Students name Western Sydney Airport Metro TBM

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Local students have chosen the winning name for the tunnel boring machine (TBM) for the Western Sydney Airport Metro project.

The machine is named in honour of Marlene Kanga AO, recognising her significant contribution as a global leader in engineering and role model to women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

On hand to witness the launch were representatives from six local primary schools who participated in a Sydney Metro competition to name the machine. The students were the first to be introduced to TBM Marlene, the winning name submitted by Claremont Meadows Public School.

“The students have done a great job naming this tunnelling machine after such an inspiring leader in STEM,” said Deputy Premier Prue Car.

“The name Marlene was suggested by Claremont Meadows Public School, and it is fitting that students from nearby schools were here at today’s launch as this project will serve many generations to come.”

Car added it had been a joy to have local school children attend the launch and send the fourth and final TBM for this transformational project off in style.

“The naming of TBM Marlene is a tremendous legacy for its namesake, and I look forward to tracking the machine’s progress as the tunnel advances from Orchard Hills to St Marys,” she said.

TBM Marlene will tunnel 4.3-kilometres, carving out the metro tunnel from Orchard Hills to St Marys alongside TBM Catherine, which is currently about 100 metres into its journey.

The 900t TBM will tunnel on average 120m per week, and is expected to arrive at the St Marys metro station site in mid-2024.

“Major construction is well underway on the Western Sydney Airport Metro, with the fourth and final tunnel boring machine launching its journey to build Sydney’s newest rail tunnels,” said Minister for Transport Jo Haylen.

“It is fantastic to see local schools get involved and learn more about this vital transport link that will revolutionise how people will move in the area putting Western Sydney on the doorstep of the rest of the world.”

The naming competition was an opportunity for local primary school students to learn more about the new 23-kilometre metro line currently under construction from St Marys to the Aerotropolis that will transform travel in their area.

It also provided a chance for students to explore achievements of inspiring Australian women in the community, with all names submitted required to be female – a tunnelling tradition stemming from the 1600s when miners working underground prayed to Saint Barbara for protection.

All six schools that participated in the competition – Claremont Meadows Public School, Our Lady of the Rosary Primary, Kurrambee School, St Marys South Public School, St Marys North Public School and Orchard Hills Public School – were commended for the significant thought and effort they put into their suggested names.

The launch of TBM Marlene means all four TBMs for the mega project are now in the ground, with TBMs Eileen and Peggy 1275 and 386 metres into excavating the 5.5-kilometres of tunnels between the Airport Business Park and the Aerotropolis, respectively.

New metro rail will become the transport spine for Greater Western Sydney, connecting communities and travellers with the new Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and the growing region.

The Australian and New South Wales Governments have a shared objective of having Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport operational when Western Sydney International Airport opens for passenger services.

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