Our tour of the eight new stations on the $8.3billion North West Rail Link — which you can follow here online every week — takes us back to Cherrybrook station where a crane with a pile driver has become a beacon on the horizon. It arrived two weeks ago.
One of the first steps in excavating the new Cherrybrook station is piling, a process used to form foundations for structures and to create a retaining wall system to allow excavation.
At Cherrybrook more than 200 piles will be constructed over coming months around the boundary of the future 22 x 225-metre station box.
Once excavation is complete, the sides of this 14-metre deep box will be supported using rock bolts, anchor supports and concrete.
This will be the launching pad for two tunnel boring machines to start their six-kilometre dig to Epping station.
“Right now this massive work site — which is the size of 20 football fields — looks like a moonscape; almost the calm before it’s transformed into a tunnelling work site for a world-scale project that will change the face of public transport in Sydney for generations to come,’’ Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet said on January 30.
Workers have built a retaining wall on Castle Hill Road and sedimentation ponds for drainage and rain water.
They have cleared vegetation, installed nest boxes for wildlife, and moved utilities on Castle Hill Road.
Workers huts have also now started being built for about 200 people.
Cherrybrook’s two tunnel-boring machines:
■ Weigh 900 tonnes;
■ Use a round cutter head loaded with hardened steel cutters;
■ Will each cut six kilometres of tunnel towards Epping;
■ Will cut about 120 metres on average a week, mostly through sandstone; and
■ Are about 120 metres long and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
■ Will each have a crew of 15 a shift.
The Cherrybrook station site is in a suburban setting. It includes:
■ Noise barriers (three and five metres in height); to be done by March;
■Two sedimentation ponds and a treatment plant on site for water capture and treatment;
■ Truck loads are covered when leaving the site to minimise dust; and
■ Equipment to be sealed and mulch earth where possible to suppress dust.
■ Keep up to date: 1800 019 989 (24-hour hotline), email@example.com, northwestrail.com.au
Our tour of the eight new train stations on the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link — which you can follow here online every week — takes us full circle to the future Bella Vista station. When we last visited on October 28, 2013, demolitions and earthworks had begun and parts of the old Totally Home Centre were converted for use as site offices. Now it's January 22, 2014, and three more shops are going.
The last of the shops fronting Celebration Drive will be demolished this week (week starting January 27, 2014) for work to begin on a "station box" - the area used to launch the rail link's tunnel-boring machines.
After this area is excavated, the sides will be supported using rock bolts, anchor supports and concrete and a concrete slab built on the base.
Then it will be ready for a boring machine to go down a ramp, into the box, to start building the underground Bella Vista railway station.
Click on the arrow below to watch a video on tunnelling.
But first a new car park will be built for the McDonald's next door, which will remain where it is even after the station is complete in 2019, as will the BP petrol station.
Bella Vista is one of three major tunnelling construction sites for the rail link and two of four machines will be supported from there.
Click here to read more about tunnelling.
Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian said the first machine would be shipped to the Bella Vista tunnelling site later this year, "as promised and on schedule", where it would be re-assembled.
The machines are being built by French-based manufacturer NFM, a world leader in tunnelling, and are part of the $1.15 billion tunnelling contract for the rail link.
Getting all the pieces to Bella Vista will mostly happen at night, to minimise impact on motorists, Ms Berejiklian said.
From Bella Vista, the machine will start digging the first of the link's twin tunnels, nine kilometres from there to Cherrybrook station.
Two machines will dig six kilometres from Cherrybrook station to Epping station.
Bella Vista will also have a precast concrete facility that will make the concrete rings that line the tunnels.
Picture each of these rings as massive concrete wedding rings about seven metres wide, locked together one after the other to form the inside of the tunnels. About 16,500 rings will be made.
As the tunnelling machine cuts about 1.7 metres of rock, a ring will be put into place while the machine continues moving forward.
"The machines will cut about 120 metres on average every week, boring mostly through Sydney sandstone," Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott said.
Each weighing 900 tonnes, the TBMs excavate using a round cutter head studded with hardened steel cutters, splitting chunks off the rock as they grind forward.
The crushed rock, or spoil, is removed on a conveyer belt through the TBM and back to the tunnelling work site. All the spoil from tunnelling will be re-used.
The combined length of the conveyor belts which will be used on all four TBMs is 29 kilometres – about the distance from the Sydney CBD to Blacktown.
Each TBM is about 120 metres and will operate 24-7, seven days a week, while deep underground.
Each machine will have a crew of 15 on board per shift.
In other rail link news, part of Brookhollow Avenue, Baulkham Hills, will close for four months starting on February 7. Click here for the full story.
Each week the News has taken readers on a tour of the stations on the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link. This week’s stop (December 12, 2013) — the eighth in our series, which you can follow here, online — brings us to the first stop on the link, Cudgegong Road station at Rouse Hill.
Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the new Cudgegong Road station would help support the more than 600,000 people expected to move to the north-west over coming decades.
“The growth in the area, especially around The Ponds, is phenomenal – hundreds of houses have popped up where there were just paddocks months ago,’’ Ms Berejiklian said.
She said two new roads would be built around the new station in Rouse Hill. The line from the station would continue west for about 300 metres to a stabling and maintenance facility — between Tallawong Road, Schofields Road and First Ponds Creek — capable of stabling 20 trains when the North West Rail Link first opens.
Later as many as 45 and 76 trains, respectively, would be stabled and maintained here.
Ms Berejiklian said it would support more than 300 new jobs.
‘‘[It] includes facilities for cleaning, inspecting, servicing, repairing and refurbishing Sydney’s new generation of single-deck trains, as well as a track to test trains for service,” she said.
She said the NSW government had secured a transport corridor from Cudgegong Road to Marsden Park, supported by nearly 70per cent of people during the community consultation phase of the planning process in 2012.
Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly said securing this corridor would reduce the cost of providing transport infrastructure in the future.
Another transport corridor has been identified for further investigation through the NSW Long Term Transport Master Plan, from Marsden Park to Mount Druitt, to the Western Sydney Employment Area and to Fairfield and Leppington.
Key features of the Cudgegong Road station:
■ 1000 commuter car parking spaces;
■ Six bus spaces;
■ 15 kiss-and-ride spaces;
■ Nine taxi spaces; and
■ Parking and storage for 45 bicycles.
Every week, the News has been taking readers on a tour of each station on the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link. This week’s stop — the seventh of eight in our series, which you can follow here each week — brings us to the corner of Samantha Riley Drive and Old Windsor Road, where Kellyville station will be built.
The new Kellyville station will be part of the four kilometre elevated skytrain section of the North West Rail Link.
Its platforms will be about 13 metres above the ground, and access for customers will be through escalators or lifts.
This station will have the biggest commuter car park on the North West Rail Link.
‘‘There will be parking for 1200 cars, plus an extra 160 spaces, which will replace the current T-way parking,’’ Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian said.
To be built on the corner of Samantha Riley Drive and Old Windsor Road, east of the existing T-way and car park, Kellyville station will provide rail access and a public transport interchange for people living in Kellyville, Beaumont Hills and Stanhope Gardens.
The station entry will face a new road parallel to Old Windsor Road to provide direct access to Samantha Riley Drive and potential future development areas to the east.
The project will also entail building new access roads, modifying and upgrading parts of surrounding roads and footpaths, and widening Samantha Riley Drive to accommodate extra turning lanes.
An existing round-a-bout on Samantha Riley Drive will be removed and a pedestrian bridge built over Old Windsor Road and the T-way at the intersection of Samantha Riley Drive and Newbury Avenue.
Key feature of the Kellyville station:
■ Four bus spaces;
■ Four taxi spaces; and
■ 10 kiss-and-ride spaces.
ASK US QUESTIONS about the stations in the comments section below.
December 3's stop — the sixth of eight in our series, which you can follow here each week — brings us to the bus-stop rank outside Rouse Hill Town Centre, which will be transformed into a transport interchange precinct with a skytrain to Bella Vista, Kellyville and Cudgegong Road stations.
To be built directly outside the Rouse Hill Town Centre, the new Rouse Hill railway station is part of the four-kilometre ‘‘skytrain’’ section of the North West Rail Link.
Its platforms will be built about 12 metres above the ground on an elevated skytrain viaduct, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.
“Rouse Hill has a long-term employment target of 12,000 jobs by 2036, and the O’Farrell government is committed to ensuring the proper infrastructure is there to support this growth,’’ Ms Berejiklian said.
“The new Rouse Hill station will provide an integrated transport connection with the Rouse Hill Town Centre and will be a vibrant interchange between bus, rail and the town centre,’’ she said.
Beneath the station, there will be a major public transport interchange with weather-protected bus stops and the existing T-way will be modified to fit in with the railway station and transport interchange precinct.
“From Rouse Hill, the North West Rail Link will swing over Windsor Road as it heads towards the end of the line at nearby Cudgegong Road station,” Hawkesbury MP Ray Williams said.
“In the other direction, the next stop is Kellyville station, which is also being built on the skytrain.’’
Work at the Rouse Hill station site will start in 2014 as part of the second major North West Rail Link contract to build the skytrain and deliver other surface construction work.
The contract is expected to be awarded by the end of this year.
Key features of Rouse Hill station:
■ Bus interchange on both sides of the T-way with 12 bus stands;
■ Twenty-five kiss-and-ride spaces;
■ Six taxi spaces on Tempus Street;
■ Reconfiguration of bus interchange;
■ Parking and storage for 40 bicycles;
■ Footpath upgrades;
■ Bus layover areas; and
■ Pedestrian crossings on Tempus Street, Main Street and the T-way.
On Thursday, November 21, photographer Natalie Roberts visited the Cherrybrook Precinct, where work is under way to install noise barriers along Franklin and Castle Hill roads in preparation for Cherrybrook railway station.
The station is a major tunnelling construction site for the North West Rail Link — Australia's biggest public transport project — from where two massive tunnel boring machines will start digging six kilometres to Epping.
The project's two other tunnel boring machines will also end their work at Cherrybrook, having dug nine kilometres from the new Bella Vista station. Cherrybrook station will be beside Castle Hill Road — between Franklin and Robert roads.
"The station has been designed to reflect the area's character," Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet said.
"It will be about seven metres below street level and will maximise daylight and natural ventilation."
Traffic lights are proposed for the intersections of Castle Hill and Glenhope roads, and Castle Hill and Robert roads.
The work site will start to be levelled and the railway station area excavated in the new year.
Key features of Cherrybrook station:
■ 400 commuter car parking spaces;
■ Bus interchange for up to six buses;
■ 14 kiss-and-ride spaces;
■ Four taxi spaces;
■ Parking and storage for 40 bicycles; and
■ New pedestrian and bicycle links.
JOIN a community forum and have your say on the Cherrybrook Traffic Flow Options Review: northwestrail.com.au/cherrybrook.
On Thursday, November 14, photographer Michael Szabath visited the Castle Hill Precinct, outside Castle Towers — a major construction site for the new Castle Hill railway station.
We were told to expect delays as work increases over coming weeks and months here.
The new station will be located beneath Arthur Whitling Park, which will be closed for the duration of construction and redesigned.
The area being excavated for the station measures about two football fields in length (200 metres), is 22 metres wide and will be excavated down to a depth of 20 metres below ground level.
‘‘The end result will be well worth it,’’ Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian said.
“The North West Rail Link will change the face of this region for generations to come, delivering for the first time a reliable public transport service to this booming area.”
Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet said Castle Hill is set to support around 13,000 jobs by 2036, ‘‘so the new station is a great opportunity to help further regenerate the town centre’’.
“This rapid transit service is a new way forward for Sydney and allows for services to increase in the future as demand increases,’’ Mr Perrottet said.
Almost the entire area of the Castle Hill construction site will be used for construction activities or to install support facilities, including internal roads, workshops, water treatment plant, sedimentation ponds and a substation — work already underway.
Excavations for the station box will begin in mid-January when three piling rigs — working six days a week — begin installing some 200 piles, into depths varying between 15 to 30 metres below ground.
Arthur Whitling Park will be turned back into a public park once the station is complete.
Key features of Castle Hill station:
■ Bus interchange on Old Northern Road for up to 10 buses;
■ Taxi spaces off Old Castle Hill Road;
■ 17 kiss-and-ride spaces on Old Castle Hill Road; and
■ Parking and storage for 20 bicycles.
Next week's stop is: Cherrybrook station.
Meantime, why not join a community forum and have your say on the Cherrybrook Traffic Flow Options Review: http://northwestrail.com.au/cherrybrook.
On Monday, November 11, photographer Natalie Roberts visited the Showground Precinct — where work will begin in the next few weeks on building a 5-metre noise wall along Carrington Road at Castle Hill, the entrance to the future Showground railway station.
Preparations for construction, including clearing vegetation and delivering construction equipment, will also get under way with major excavations to start early next year.
"As a nod to the past the NSW government has taken on board the suggestion of the Castle Hill and Hills District Agricultural Society that this new station be named Showground because of the historical significance of the area," Castle Hill MP Dominic Perrottet said with reference to Castle Hill Showground next door.
"The new railway station will make it easier than ever to get to this important community precinct and take advantage of the facilities, as well as the annual Castle Hill Show, a very important community event which dates back to the 1880s."
The Hills Centre was demolished to make way for the Showground Precinct after extensive community consultation in 2011 and 2012, including a community campaign to save the entertainment quarter.
A time capsule buried at the centre 24 years ago will be moved to the new The Hills Council centre in Norwest Business Park, to be opened as intended in 2088.
Two tunnel-boring machines will travel from Bella Vista station to Showground, before they advance 5 kilometres to Cherrybrook station. From Cherrybrook, another two tunnel machines will already have started digging to Epping.
The project will see Doran Drive in Castle Hill upgrade and widened to two lanes and a new street built between Doran Drive and Showground Road, with the area expected to add more than 15,000 jobs - with bulky goods and industrial expanding in the Castle Hill Industrial Precinct.
Key features of Showground station:
■ 600 commuter car parking spaces;
■ A major bus interchange on Doran Drive;
■ 15 kiss-and-ride spaces;
■ 4 taxi spaces; and
■ Storage facilities for 40 bicycles.
On Thursday, October 31, photographer Gene Ramirez visited the Norwest Precinct — where he found preparations for excavation work for the new Norwest station in full swing.
Tunnelling contractor Thiess John Holland Dragados has started taking delivery of site offices and is installing environmental measures on-site, such as erosion controls and hoardings.
"Heading east, Norwest is the first underground station in what will be the longest rail tunnel ever built in Australia, running 15 kilometres from Bella Vista to Epping," Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.
One of eight new stations on the North West Rail Link, Norwest will be about 20 metres underground with street-level entrance at the corner of Norwest Boulevard and Brookhollow Avenue in Baulkham Hills.
From early January, work will start on adjusting the Norwest Boulevard roundabout near the site, to maintain access to Marketown and Hillsong church when the entry to Brookhollow Avenue at Baulkham Hills is temporarily closed in mid-February.
A structure will be built across Brookhollow Avenue so the road can be reopened within six months.
Excavation of the 200-metre long station and preparation for the arrival of the tunnel-boring machines from Bella Vista (see October 28 entry, below) will continue throughout 2014.
The site was the first major construction site to be set up as part of the rail link project.
Major demolitions began there in October 2012, to allow important early construction work — such as installing high-voltage power cables and relocating utilities like water supplies.
As one of the fastest-growing employment centres in Sydney, Norwest is home to 15,000 workers and is the headquarters of many major national and international companies, such as Woolworths, Subaru and medical supply specialists ResMed and B Braun Australia.
By 2031, the number of people working in the park is expected to swell to 30,000.
Key features of Norwest station:
■ 4 bus bays on both sides of Norwest Boulevard;
■ taxi spaces;
■ kiss-and-ride spaces on Brookhollow Avenue; and
■ parking and storage for 30 bicycles.
The North West Rail Link comprises 16 construction sites at:
1. Epping Services Facility;
2. Cheltenham Services Facility;
3. Cherrybrook Station;
4. Castle Hill Station;
5. Showground Station;
6. Norwest Station;
7. Bella Vista Station;
8. Balmoral Road;
9. Memorial Avenue;
10. Kellyville Station;
11. From Samantha Riley Drive to Windsor Road (skytrain zone);
12. From Old Windsor Road to White Hart Drive (skytrain zone);
13. Rouse Hill Station;
14. Windsor Road Viaduct;
15. Windsor Road Viaduct to Cudgegong Road; and
16. From Cudgegong Road to the Rapid Transit Rail Facility.
■ Updates: 1800 019 989 (24-hour hotline), firstname.lastname@example.org, northwestrail.com.au.
On Monday, October 28, photographer Natalie Roberts visited the Bella Vista Precinct — one of three major tunneling construction sites for the North West Rail Link and also the location of the new Bella Vista railway station, on the corner of Old Windsor Road and Celebration Drive.
But did you know the precinct will be excavated so that two of the four tunnel boring machines can be launched and supported from here?
This month work including demolitions and earthworks began at the Bella Vista station site.
Parts of the former Totally Home Centre have been converted for use as site offices.
Other buildings will be demolished next month.
"Bella Vista is the first station before the 15-kilometre tunnel to Epping - one of the twin tunnels which will make up Australia's longest rail tunnels," Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.
"Bella Vista station is being built in a cutting, which means the station itself is open to the sky but about six metres below ground level," Ms Berejiklian said.
"From here, as you head west, the North West Rail Link will elevate on to the four-kilometre skytrain structure between Bella Vista and Rouse Hill.
"The next station is Kellyville, which is elevated and will sit on the skytrain structure itself.
"Eastbound from Bella Vista, the train heads straight into a tunnel - the opening of the tunnel is just to the west of the intersection of Lexington Drive and Celebration Drive. The next station is Norwest.
“At Bella Vista station, there’ll be a train every five minutes in the peak which means customers won’t need a timetable – you just turn up and go.’’
All of the infrastructure needed to support the operation of the tunnel boring machines will be set up in the Bella Vista site, including sheds to handle the crushed rock from digging, conveyors, a water treatment plant and a cement grout plant.
TBMs install the concrete tunnel lining rings as they dig and need a constant supply of about 100,000 concrete segments which are used to create the rings.
A large area to the west of the station site is being cleared to build an enclosed facility next year to manufacture these segments.
Key features of Bella Vista station:
■ 800 commuter car parking spaces;
■ 6 bus spaces, 16 kiss-and-ride spaces and 4 taxi spaces on the new extended Lexington Drive;
■ Local bus access from existing T-way;
■ Parking and storage for 30 bicycles; and
■ A new pedestrian bridge across Old Windsor Road.
What you will notice when you drive or walk by:
The community in Bella Vista and businesses in the Norwest Business Park can expect to see increased activity, including:
■ Delivery of major construction equipment, including bulldozers, excavators, articulated dump trucks, cranes, compactors and rollers;
■ Clearing of the Bella Vista site;
■ Relocation of utilities like power, telecommunications, water and gas supplies; and
■ Demolition and earthworks.
Did you know?
The future station sites of Kellyville, Bella Vista and Showground have been nominated for the NSW Government’s Urban Activation Precinct program. If accepted as an Urban Activation Precinct, The Hills Council will work in partnership with the Department of Planning and Infrastructure to discuss opportunities and issues with the precincts precincts at Kellyville, Bella Vista and the Showground. The department will become responsible for the assessment, exhibition and determination of the proposal, a council spokesman said.