Breakthrough! Tunnel boring machine breaches…

Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL) hit a mighty milestone with its powerful tunnel boring machine (TBM), Dame Whina Cooper, breaking through into the Karangahape Station construction site at the end of its 860-metre-long journey from Mt Eden.

CRL workers 32 metres below ground saw the TBM breached a 100-millimetre-thick protective wall of concrete into the station cavern.

“Despite all the curve balls, complications and challenges Covid keeps throwing our way, we’ve arrived – it’s a positive, exciting and significant arrival,” says CRL’s chief executive, Dr Sean Sweeney. “Aucklanders can’t see it, but far below their streets a railway that is going to change their lives for the good is rapidly starting to take shape.”

Great collaboration, planning and old-fashioned hard labour meant the arrival was well ahead of the rescheduled time.

“The TBM was running sweetly at a rate higher than planned during its drive under Spaghetti Junction on the motorway.”

At Karangahape the 130-metre-long TBM will now be pushed 223-metres to the northern end of the station cavern and readied for the next stage of its journey, to Aotea Station in Auckland’s midtown. The second CRL tunnel from Mt Eden to Aotea will be bored in 2022. TBM operators marked the arrival with a gift for Karangahape Station workers – a hard hat representing the Link Alliance’s commitment to industry-leading standards in health, safety, and wellbeing. The hard hat bears Dame Whina Cooper’s portrait.