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TBM Joan cutterhead installed

The Metro Tunnel Project’s first tunnel boring machine (TBM) is in the final stages of assembly, with a 100-tonne red cutterhead installed on the state-of-the-art tunnelling machine.

The cutterhead – which can cut through rock 6 times harder than concrete – is the heaviest piece of the TBM at over 100 tonnes.

The TBM will now be moved into a steel bell, an innovative launching method for the tunnel boring machines that enhances the initial excavation and provides greater ground support control.

Once the TBM is inside the steel bell, additional pieces of the machine will be lowered into the station box and assembled.

The red TBM, named after Victoria's first female Premier Joan Kirner, will then be launched from Arden Station site in the coming weeks as it starts tunnelling towards the western tunnel entrance in Kensington.

Metro Tunnel